Rinus Van de Velde

Rinus Van de Velde - Galerie Max Hetzler Selected Works

Bridging the potential and the impossible, Rinus Van de Velde (b. 1983) tells a tale of imagined histories, of fictional autobiographies and fantastic encounters. Spanning various media from drawing and painting to installation and film, Van de Velde is known for his witty commentary and meticulous use of charcoal on large-scale canvas. 

Rinus Van de Velde’s narrative style balances between truth and imagination, which is reflected in the intricate interplay of light and shadow in his work. Convinced that art is not born of one sole truth, through his works, Van de Velde aims to open a multiplicity of realities to his audience. Inhabiting these worlds, the artist often depicts himself as the protagonist, whether sat in an armchair smoking or dressed as a star tennis player. 

Since the late 2010s, Van de Velde complements his signature monochrome palette with faded and subdued shades, becoming increasingly more saturated over time. In recent years, the artist has focused on a new body of work in colour, beginning with small-scale pencil drawings, which have evolved into larger compositions in vibrant oil stick. Fascinated by the spontaneity of drawing, Van de Velde embraces the medium’s mischievous, chaotic qualities, transcribing this spirit onto a large scale that, in its grandeur, is reminiscent of traditional oil painting. Unlike painting, forever condemned to the burden of making definite statements, Van de Velde sees in drawing the possibility of ‘designing your world’. 

‘My work is always based on fiction, placed alongside reality. It is about the truth and a lie. Where is the real in all of it? And this is interesting I think, for me to mix it all up. I don’t think it is as interesting to say (what is and isn’t real) this is the truth. I don’t wish this, because I am not an authority on the truth. I don’t want to be in that position, and the same of what I said about making statements in painting, I am not that kind of artist who is going to make an assertion and say that this is how the world is now. I like that everything is much more ambivalent and that there is hesitation, it is false or fact? The lie is much more interesting I think than telling the truth.’

— Rinus Van de Velde, 2020

Source: R. Van de Velde in conversation with R. Punj ‘Living a Lie. An interview with Rinus Van de Velde’, in Art&Deal, 2020

Image: I wish we will be a reason..., 2022, oil pastel on paper, 110 x 73 cm.; 43 1/4 x 28 3/4 in., Courtesy of Tim van Laere Gallery

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