10444 - 20170305 - New installation by Rinus Van de Velde on view at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag 02.12.2016-05.03.2017


Every Thursday evening there was an open podium at the local bar., 2016. Charcoal on paper, 190 x 240 cm. Courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp.
In his home country of Belgium, Rinus Van de Velde (b. Leuven, 1983) is already a celebrity. Elsewhere, his striking, life-size charcoal drawings are now catapulting him to fame on the international art scene. For this show at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Van de Velde is creating a brand-new installation referring to the major painters of the 20th century. In addition to works on paper hung on a painterly background, the artist will present autonomous, free-standing sculptures – the first time he has ever done so.
Explorer in the Brazilian jungle, castaway on a desert island, chess grandmaster or star tennis player – Rinus Van de Velde presents a constant succession of alter egos in drawings that are invariably explained in English-language captions written below them in block letters. The individual images can stand alone as autonomous works of art, but can also be read in sequence like some virtuoso storyboard.

Van de Velde previously designed large sets and used them to stage scenes featuring himself and various extras. The tableaux were photographed and the resulting images reproduced in the form of meticulously detailed, photorealistic drawings made in black, white and shades of grey on life-size canvases. Recently, however, he has abandoned this time-consuming staging process and turned to using paper instead of canvas.

Rinus Van de Velde: “You draw differently on the big, 6 x 3 metre prepared canvases I used to use than on a piece of paper you’ve just cut from a roll and hung up that morning. Paper lets you make mistakes again. And that’s when interesting things can start to happen.”

Cardboard reproductions
In his show at the Gemeentemuseum, Van de Velde tells the story of Isaac Weiss, the leader of an artists’ colony and fictive alter ego of the artist himself. The members of Weiss’s colony are various big-name artists of the twentieth century, including Mark Rothko, Jean Brusselmans and Pablo Picasso.

The framed charcoal drawings depicting life in the colony will hang on walls covered with vast cardboard reproductions of paintings by these leading figures in art history. They will include, for example, life-size reproductions of Pablo Picasso’s Sibylle (1921) and Alexej von Jawlensky’s Landscape at Oberstdorf (1912), both now in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum. Within the installation and still in the persona of Weiss, Van de Velde (who initially trained as a sculptor) will also exhibit autonomous sculptures – the first time he has ever done so.

Van de Velde: “By reproducing works by great painters of the twentieth century, I’m experimenting with the way those artists worked. I’m constantly trying out different artistic stances. Right from the start, I ask myself what it means to be ‘a genuine artist’. What does it mean to me? How genuine am I myself?”