Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ruud van Empel



Ruud van Empel Dawn #1 2008


Ruud van Empel World #32 2008


Ruud van Empel Souvenir #1 2008


Ruud van Empel World #25 2007


Ruud van Empel World #19 2006


Ruud van Empel World #22 2006


Ruud van Empel Venus #4 2006


Ruud van Empel World #14 2006


Ruud van Empel Moon #5 2007



Rudolph Franciscus Maria van Empel graduated Cum Laude from the Academie St. Joost, Breda (1976-1981) as a graphic designer. Having worked briefly as a designer, he devoted his attention to making free video tapes and staged photography. From the mid-eighties onward, he manifested himself as a creative designer of theatre decors and was the art director of various television and film productions. In addition, he generated many posters for films, cultural programmes and organizations.

In the mid-nineties, he decided to develop himself further as a visual artist. His first photo series are entitled The Office (1995-2001), Study for Women (1999-2002), and Study in Green (2003). He presented his first solo exhibition in the Groninger Museum in 1999, under the title: Waterpas of Optisch recht? (Level or Optically straight?)

His international breakthrough came with his series of works entitled World, Moon, Venus (2005-2008). These were first exhibited in Picturing Eden exhibition, compiled by Deborah Klochko, in the George Eastman House. Many exhibitions followed, and the Sir Elton John photo collection is just one of the many collections which now contain examples of van Empel’s work.

Van Empel’s working method is a complex one. He photographs 4 or 5 professional models in his studio, and takes many series of detailed photos of leaves, flowers, plants and animals. Having gathered hundreds of pictures in a database, he selects those images with which he can achieve the best results. The models are mixed in the Photoshop program, clothes are photographed separately on a tailor’s dummy. In this way he creates new images of mainly children, black or white, set in a paradisaical environment. The art historian Jan Baptist Bedaux wrote in de catalogue (2006) of Museum Het Valkhof:

The fact that many of the children in his compositions have a dark skin is a facet that cannot remain without comment. Although it is self-evident that a child’s skin colour is not important, the iconography of the innocent child was traditionally represented by ‘white’ children. The earliest examples of this date from the early seventeenth century. These are portraits in which children are captured in an idealized, pastoral setting. It is a genre to which the children’s portraits of the German artist Otto Dix, a source of inspiration to van Empel, refer. In deviating from the standard iconography by giving the child a dark skin, van Empel inadvertently assumes a political stance. After all, this child is still the focus of discrimination and its innocence is not recognized by everyone as being self-evident.

Biography found here.


45 comments:

Morgan said...

I love these... and the creep me out at the same time. Definitely thought provoking!

Georgina said...

You find the coolest art! - G

Down and Out Chic said...

help, i need some context here. i went to the website but couldn't find an artist's statement. the first work is quite beautiful but then they started getting creepy. i read something about these being part of the elton john's aids foundation? i think i need to know more having an opinion (shocking, i know).

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

One of my all time fave!
ahhh...orgasmic visual colorsss
~LUV*

Dancing Branflake said...

Wow. Thank you for educating us on him. He's amazing and so very thoughtful in his artwork.

Jill said...

#14 please!

Iva said...

they are GORGEOUS!!! I am so amazed at the method he uses. Its incredibly intertwined with so many stages! Complete microscopic details! I'd love to know more...I'm completely fascinated!

Caroline said...

WOW...talk about painstaking work! So cool. That little boy in the green short suit...OMG...he looks he is spawn from the devil...*shudders*

Char said...

yeah, though the pose is innocent, they all creep me out. like they arw waiting in the jungle to kill me or something. very nicely of course, but i'm dead so who cares? LOL

Haute World said...

I find his featuring of 'dark skinned' children to be interesting, especially considering how the Dutch have a very odd stance when it comes to those of a non-white color (i.e. they are racist without even really realizing it). Considering that every Christmas they have people running around with blackface make-up and don't consider this insulting (it's a Dutch 'tradition'), I do find his purposeful use of these children to be very powerful considering his fellow Dutchies will most likely be taken aback by it.

Brooke said...

I love these. I absolutely adore the colors, and the children are perfect models. I can't decide if they are "innocent" or creepy. Maybe both. It's all in the eyes.

Krystal Kerr said...

I like these... there seems to be a growing trend on creepy children in art - reminds me of Loretta Lux's work with a much more colorful palate.

bananas. said...

i gotta say...these are kinda creepy. my reasons are as followed:

a. they're of children.
b. is the white chick nekked?
c. their big ass eyes freak me out.

the green nature one is cool.

bananas. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JenRem said...

Wow I really like this. No idea why but they are so stunning. Thanks for sharing :)

Diana said...

I love these! i also love his theory behind the photographs. Art with purpose!

Charlotte said...

Blurring the line between creepy and beautiful. I absolutely love those shades of green.

Karisa Tells All said...

I like these! The colors are amazing

Karls said...

They are so freaking amazing! I love them to bits!

Kristine said...

Love these!

Sam said...

These are awesome! Love the one of the three guys in the lilly pond especially! Fabulous stuff! :0)

Candice said...

I love them in a I would never want to run into these kids in a dark alley kind of a way.

Cheryl said...

Really arresting images! Amazing...

God's Favorite Shoes! said...

I love these...in a creepy way...

josie(bean) said...

ahhh, creeeepy! but i really enjoy the bold colors :)

Asylum Dolly said...

I never cease to be amazed by the artists you bring to our attention my drollski! As soon as i saw these i wondered if they were digital artworks or not. Very cool! His method is close to what i would like to do..only he does a better job than i would be able to!
The third one is awesome, as it's a bit creepy. I LOVE IT! But i think my fave would have to be "world #25"- the 3 kidlies in the lily pond. Beautiful! For some reason, it kinda puts me in mind from a scene from that "Baraka" (I THINK that's how it is spelled???) film.
I feel like playing with photoshop now!!!!

Asylum Dolly said...

i mean "of" a scene from that movie...

the spectator said...

Have just caught up on the adventures of poor Leo. I'm so pleased it's good news for both you and fur boy.

His diagnosis sounds a lot like us humans really - eat your fibre!!!!

P.S. In my book the late great Michael Jackson wins.

pixelhazard said...

Yeah they creep me out a bit too...i think it's because the images are so skillfilly 3d. That being said i still think the kid in the 3rd image is going to try and kill me if i close my eyes

Kitty Stampede said...

um wow. these are phenomenal. how can someone be so talented and have such an incredible eye. the colors burn holes in my brain and eat its own brain for breakfast.
loverly.

~KS said...

How do you find all of these artists?? The colors here are stunning... wow. So much to take in.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Incredible colours and I instantly wondered: How does he do it? Are they paintings from photographs? (So it definitely helped that you explained his method of working.) I do find them a bit unsettling, too.

vint junky said...

Incredible images!
The children look so wide-eyed and innocent. Love this collection


xxx

bunny, The Paris House said...

amazing, the colors, the children's eyes...all incredible!

Tom Tuttle from Tacoma said...

i like what i see.

TERI REES WANG said...

We will need to coin a new phrase that can properly express the swirl, I am feeling right now.

Delightful + Frightful = ?

pen tablets said...

These are haunting. It's ike these kids know more than they should.

Ela said...

Wow. I'm speechless. I can't stop staring. Amazing.

Christy said...

Breathtaking! Wow... Thanks so much for passing this along!

...love Maegan said...

love love love them ...the three heads in the pond ...favorite!

carina said...

wow! amazing!!

Cristin said...

Creeptastic!

Claire Kiefer said...

Creepsville, USA!

Hanako66 said...

freakin amazing

web designer said...

These photos are amazing! I have never seen anything like that before. They are magically beautiful but somehow scary at the same time. I can't stop looking at them.