← Artist Page

Selected Works

On Monday Pierre takes care of Dinner..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
159.5 x 294 cm.; 62 3/4 x 115 3/4 in.
176.3 x 310.8 x 6.8 cm.; 69 3/8 x 122 3/8 x 2 5/8 in. (framed)

Edvard, are you serious..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
110 x 73 cm.; 43 1/4 x 28 3/4 in.
126.5 x 89.5 x 4 cm.; 49 3/4 x 35 1/4 x 1 5/8 in. (framed)

Dear Dwight, all kind of little imaginings..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
217.7 x 162.1 cm.; 85 3/4 x 63 7/8 in.
240.4 x 185.1 x 6.8 cm.; 94 5/8 x 72 7/8 x 2 5/8 in. (framed)

We realized we felt stronger inside..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
213.3 x 162.1 cm.; 84 x 63 7/8 in.
236.1 x 185.1 x 6.8 cm.; 93 x 72 7/8 x 2 5/8 in. (framed)

Hey Bill! Bill,... Hey Bill..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
174.5 x 112 cm.; 68 3/4 x 44 1/8 in.
194.5 x 132 x 5 cm.; 76 5/9 x 52 x 2 in. (framed)
Photo: def image

At night you sleep with your window open..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
160.2 x 226.3 cm.; 63 1/8 x 89 1/8 in.
183 x 249 x 6.8 cm.; 72 x 98 x 2 5/8 cm. (framed)

I wish we will be a reason..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
110 x 73 cm.; 43 1/4 x 28 3/4 in.
126.5 x 89.5 x 4 cm.; 49 3/4 x 35 1/4 x 1 5/8 in. (framed)

Dear, a studio visit is a bit difficult at the moment ..., 2022

oil pastel on paper
160.2 x 228 cm.; 63 1/8 x 89 3/4 in.

‘The search for a drawing in colour has been there from the beginning. Ten years, it took me. I started to master oil pastels and began to draw with them obsessively. This is a very organic process with no major steps. Only the die-hard fans know what I've been up to lately. I don't blame the public for identifying me with charcoal drawings. But that's why this exhibition at Bozar is so important, because I can show on such a large scale in Belgium what has happened in the past 15 years.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with L. Poté, 'Explore your inner journeys. In conversation with Rinus Van de Velde', bozar.be, 28 March 2022

The principle impulse..., 2021

charcoal on canvas, in artist’s frame
300 x 525 cm.; 118 1/8 x 206 3⁄4 in.

‘A key work in further locating the interlacedness of the film still within the graphic work of Van de Velde is The principal impulse (2021), which shows the artist seated in an underwater reef landscape filled, to an obsessive degree, with corals and sponges. The very same undersea world appears in La Ruta Natural. Here the main character is not the artist himself but an actor, masked as Van de Velde, who half swims, half walks across the sea bed. The reference image of The principal impulse is not a photogram. Rather, it is a photographic image staged and captured in the film’s set.' 

J. Verheye, ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Inner Travels, exh. cat., Bozar-Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Hannibal Books, 2022, p. 123

La Ruta Natural, 2019–2021

single channel video

La Ruta Natural is a palindrome; when read backwards, the lebers form the same exact title, in addition to reflecting the abandonment of the strict linearity of filmic action. The artist experiences his avatars travels and absurd undertakings within the confines of his studio, capturing them on file. The failing protagonist carries out an undefined plan, which starts at a vegetable stall where he spots a carved carrot, which is just the tool he needs to burrow through a long, narrow shad to reach a concealed, underground machine room. There he uses complicated machinery to inflate a red balloon, which he then releases so it can fly up through an opening in the rocks – again reminiscent of the work of Fischli and Weiss, more specifically their film Der Lauf der Dinge (1987). He then drives his convertible up a steep mountain road. Once he has reached the summit, he sets fire to the car only to plunge into a colourful underwater world, from which he escapes through a television set. This is followed by several other scenes in a variety of cardboard worlds, culmination in an unexpected ending – like so many heterogeneous dream sequences.’ 

U. Ströbele, ‘Inner Travels and Walking as an Artistic Strategy’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Inner Travels, exh. cat., Bozar-Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Hannibal Books, 2022, p. 76

I am starting to see myself as a whole group of artists, 2021

charcoal on canvas
65.5 x 90 x 4 cm.; 25 3/4 x 35 3/8 x 1 5/8 in.
Collection: FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Nantes

‘The horizontal format inevitably gives the drawings a cinematic look, demanding that they be read from led to right, top to bottom. The scale recalls Barnett Newman’s sublime paintings, the structure the large formats of the nineteenth-century masters. As a spectator, you are taken into the drawings, but as well as spectator you are a participant in a staged reality. […] The dramaturgy of each drawing takes place in a closed environment in which only certain abributes refer to an outside world. The environments/seongs are inhabited by tragic heroes, set down like chess pieces like the figures with which Edward Hopper sparingly populated his paintings. The characters carry the story, but the interiors and objects suffuse it. The drawings are ‘frames’ from a larger storyboard, stalled movements, timeless and mythical, devoid of colour but coloured by the noise of a fiction.’ 

P. van Cauteren, ‘Leber: To Rinus Van de Velde,‘ in Rinus Van de Velde. Donogoo Tonka, exh. cat., S.M.A.K., Ghent; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2016, n.p.

Leon, can I borrow her for a while,..., 2021

oil pastel on paper
73.3 x 96.6 cm.; 28 7/8 x 38 in.

Prop, Train, 2021

cardboard, paint, wood and mixed media
1050 x 250 x 300 cm.; 413 3/8 x 98 3/8 x 118 1/8 in.
Installation view: BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, 2022

‘With his drawings, installations, ceramics and film, Rinus Van de Velde pulls at the threads of our cultural and intellectual history. The artist presents cyclical stories in which he connects word and image with references to literature, philosophy and art history. In these stories, he interweaves reality with fiction, which gives him the freedom to appropriate everything that finds its way into his world. His drawings are the foundation of his artisic practice, which he always returns to through his other works.’ 

K. Loret, Rinus Van de Velde, exh. cat., Antwerp: Tim Van Laere Gallery, 2021, n.p.

Like all memories..., 2021

oil pastel on paper
111.8 x 149.2 cm.; 44 x 58 3/4 in.

He has been drifting around, 2021

oil pastel on paper
110.2 x 66.7 cm.; 43 3/8 x 26 1/4 in.

‘He presents his works for what they are: fragments of himself. […] What connects these works is the persona of the artist himself. What we see is his ambition as an artist, questioning himself alongside other artists such as Pieter Bruegel, Rembrandt, Joan Mitchell, Willem De Kooning, Edvard Munch and David Hockney. Each of these artists personifies a quality that Van de Velde would like to possess as an artist. In order to really penetrate their works, he appropriates them and translates them into his own technique. In the texts of these works, we oden find open lebers from Van de Velde to the artist, letters in which he questions their work but where he also critcizes himself.’ 

K. Loret, Rinus Van de Velde, exh. cat., Antwerp: Tim Van Laere Gallery, 2021, n.p.

After a while, ..., 2020

coloured pencil on paper, in artist's frame
34.9 x 45.2 cm.; 13 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.

‘[…] Presenting only his coloured pencil drawings, Rinus Van de Velde is marking an important turnabout in his oeuvre. At first glance, the new format indicates a break from his previous work: from his familiar back-and-white drawings, as big as paintings or even a cinema screen, to coloured pencil, drawings, horizontal and square, the size of photographs and postcards – nothing larger than an A3. From black and white to colour, from very large to very small: in an exhibition space this makes a world of difference, but in its very essence, nothing has changed where it concerns the substantive and artistic ambitions of his work. We are still entering the universe of a fictitious biography. And artistically, Rinus continues working on his objective of emancipating drawing into a fully-fledged art form. Together with other artists he stands for a literary-pictorial revolution in contemporary art; softly on slippered feet they are putting a new avant-garde twist on the conceptual consumes within the Global Contemporary.’ 

J. Laureyns, ‘The New Avant-Garde Looks Different from the Old One’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Colored Pencil Drawings, exh. cat., Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2021, p. 113

On monday mornings I explain all my new ideas to my assistants, 2020

glazed ceramic
16 x 100 x 51 cm.; 6 1/4 x 39 3/8 x 20 1/8 in.

‘The travel stories and artists’ biographies that Van de Velde reconstructs in his atelier seem to come to life in his ceramics. Their ontological status of ‘spiritual’ fiction is transformed into ‘physical factuality. The sculptural shape’s basic pabern is achieved by actively compacting an action (in this case, the simulation or suggestion of being on the move) in matter (Van de Velde uses moist, malleable clay). […] On monday mornings I explain all my new ideas to my assistants (2020), made from glazed ceramic, refers to Van de Velde’s studio practice as a painter and is a spook on the mass production and division of labour in an artistic ‘factory’. Seventeen assistants are seated around a large brown table, listening to the words – and new ideas – of the ‘master’ who is standing at the head of the table. Perhaps this scene refers to the preparations for his films?’ 

U. Ströbele, ‘Inner Travels and Walking as an Artistic Strategy’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Inner Travels, exh. cat., Bozar-Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Hannibal Books, 2022, pp. 73 and 76

Joan..., 2020

oil pastel on paper
70.9 x 88.3 cm.; 27 7/8 x 34 3/4 in.

I am the armchair voyager, 2020

charcoal on canvas in artist's frame
246 x 161 cm.; 96 7/8 x 63 3/8 in.

‘Van de Velde’s work responds to film rather than to painting, drawing or photography. Whereas pictorialism transposes textures or natural light into brush strokes, and photorealism implies a translation of focus and printing techniques, Van de Velde’s drawings are more cinematographic in nature. For starters, they have the same luminosity as projected images. The artist preferred certain light effects, especially in his black and white drawings: bold chiaroscuro, surfaces with thousands of folds and ripples, volumes and contours that are emphasized by artificial light… Or cigarebe smoke, the ultimate Hollywood fetish, a representant in the image of the invisible machinery, a mysterious je ne said quoi, drawing attention to the light source that rendered the image visible.’ 

K. Sels, ‘The Eye of the Mainstream’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Inner Travels, exh. cat., Bozar-Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Hannibal Books, 2022, pp. 145– 146

Sorry, I will not be able to model..., 2020

coloured pencil on paper
30.4 x 23.8 cm.; 12 x 9 3/8 in.

‘I have always wanted to consider drawing as an autonomous medium. I stopped making those small drawings because I assumed that if I enlarged the scale of my drawings, the medium would come into its own more as an autonomous thing. I recently asked myself the question again and I am no longer convinced of it. I think the small colored pencil drawings that I make at my drawing table say something about the private character that is so characteristic of the medium itself. The colored pencil drawings also give me more freedom in the sense that I can make them everywhere, including in my hotel room when I go to an international opening or something, in contrast to the large charcoal drawings that I can only make in my studio.‘ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with T. Van Laere, ‘The Villagers. An Interview with Rinus Van de Velde by Tim Van Laere’, in The Villagers, exh. cat., Antwerp: Tim Van Laere Gallery, 2019, n.p.

It must have been somewhere here ..., 2020

coloured pencil on paper, in arist’s frame
35.5 x 46.1 cm.; 14 x 18 1/8 in.

‘Tellingly, if McCarthy and Guston use drawing to divulge a whole host of visual dichotomies, libering the picture plane with a multitude of gestural expressions and comic icons, Van de Velde’s use of charcoal and coloured crayon is far more considered, closer in appearance to a photograph. Which, for their accuracy of the real, conjures the conundrum of ‘truth’ in them, and the strength of the image stands for the truth; we understand photography in the same way. And by reinventing an image of an event that already exists in time and space as an extension of himself, leaves the audience grasping for the truth in them; and that his images as artworks must surely have a level of reality, for their being so real.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversaLon with R. Punj, ‘Living a Lie: An interview with Rinus Van de Velde’, in Art & Deal, March 2020, pp. 25–26

Still struggling with my backhand, 2020

glazed ceramic
29 x 52 cm.; 11 3/8 x 20 1/2 in.

‘Van de Velde’s focus on male stereotypes is no accident; they’re all figures we’re familiar with from cinema, advertising, cowboy stories, songs and perhaps even from life. Maybe that unapproachable guy who hides his abachment disorder behind an air of independence and freedom has once sat at our table or spent the night at our house. We’ve all encountered that light-lipped big-mouth who has fought his way through the most remote wilderness on his lonesome, equipped with nothing but a pocketknife and a box of matches. At least from a distance, we’ve all seen that introverted hero who, alone at his studio, toils away at his life’s work. The maverick, lone wolf, alpha male, disagreeable fellow we hardly identify with in Van de Velde’s art, but whose forlornness piques our curiosity.’ 

F. Fetzer, ‘Making Of: On Intimacy in the Work of Rinus Van de Velde’, in Rinus Van de Velde.I’d Rather Stay at Home, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2021, pp. 8–9

I will need to chop, 2019

coloured pencil on paper
10 x 17 cm.; 4 x 6 3/4 in.
Collection: SOLO, Madrid

‘This is something I started doing two years ago. Again because I made these small drawings when I graduated from high school. At the time I didn’t have a studio and was very limited with space, so I deliberately started making these small drawings, which I would stick to one wall, to have an over view of everything I have done of the past months. But then, of course, I was thinking about the medium of drawing being very marginal, and I thought to get rid of that and treat it as an autonomous medium. So one strategy could be of scaling or ‘blowing up’ the drawing. But then practically with coloured pencils, I couldn’t very easily fill these giant sheets of paper with colour, so I started using charcoal, because it goes quicker onto the surface, and was easier to apply to a large-scale work. Which lead to my making many charcoal drawings works in this way, for more than ten years, unLl at a certain point I was with Tim (Van Laere), and we were looking at some older works, and by chance, a colour drawing appeared, and I wondered why I had stopped making them.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with R. Punj, ‘Living a Lie: An interview with Rinus Van de Velde’, in Art & Deal, March 2020, pp. 31–32

Luckily I didn't feel much, 2019

coloured pencil on paper
18 x 11 cm.; 7 1/8 x 4 3/8 in.
Collection: SOLO, Madrid

‘Ego constructions can also be found in Van de Velde’s new small-format coloured pencil drawings. In one example, The artist seems to enjoy slipping into the role of Caspar David Friedrich as the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. Instead of looking into the mirror, he gazes out at the vast sea. Van de Velde ironically breaks the staging of this Romantic pathos, however, by having the gazing wanderer remark laconically: “Luckily I didn’t feel much.”’ 

S. Weppelmann, ‘Rothko, Robert, Rinus – All These Great Painters Come By a Second Time’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Colored Pencil Drawings, exh. cat., Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2021, p. 5

These villagers..., 2019

charcoal on canvas, in arist frame
210 x 353 cm.; 82 5/8 x 139 in.

‘Rinus Van de Velde’s drawings are generally large. They have the format of a movie screen but without its shiny, luminous surface or saturated colours that suck in the eye and draw the viewer into the image. Instead, he uses charcoal grease pencil: an additioonal layer of material on mab textile. Charcoal offers a rapid technique that sketches out a context, draws contours and places shadows. With its temporary character and abstracting monochrome palebe, it does not set out to absorb but points to a following image. A Rinus Van de Velde drawing is not, however, pure medium. Undergirding it is an amalgam of photography, cinema, performance, painting and sculpture, the specific criteria and characteristics of each of which influence the result.’ 

A. Hoste, ‘Rinus Van de Velde: A Fiction Above Fiction’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Donogoo Tonka, exh. cat., S.M.A.K., Ghent; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2016, n.p.

Alexander..., 2019

oil pastel on paper
110.1 x 72.2 cm.; 43 3/8 x 28 3/8 in.

‘For more than ten years Van de Velde searched for a colour technique in drawing with the same expressive power and possibilities as charcoal. He has found these qualities in oil pastel, a material that enables him to draw in the same powerful and fluent way as charcoal, while at the same time offering him a wider range of possibilities.’ 

K. Loret, Rinus Van de Velde, exh. cat., Antwerp: Tim Van Laere Gallery, 2021, n.p.

The Villagers, 2017–2019

single channel video installation, colour, sound
40 minutes

‘This is the material backdrop of The Villagers: satisfyingly crady sets brought into a live action world. Through beautifully observed cinematic lighting, Van de Velde’s drawings take on the allure of film stills. Here, this lighting builds plausible atmospheres in implausible seongs: a computer nerd’s basement office, in which the on-screen information and printed sheets carry nothing more than painted lines, blocks and blobs; a man suffering a breakdown on a deserted road, the rear potiLon of a model car as his prop; a flood sequence in which the rescue boat is clearly propelled by the captain’s feet protruding from the base, like the family car in The Flintstones (1960–1966). [...] As a beautifully observed cinematic homage, one could too easily pigeonhole this as winsome fantasy – David Lynch by way of Wes Anderson with a pinch of Scandi noir – but Van de Velde looks through fiction to the reality beyond. The Villagers explores the ridiculous sensation of imagining oneself so isolated in the world that one’s actions have no impact. How do we know what is important if we don’t have light and sound cues to direct us? In melding real life with the light and paint of illusion, it asks where art sits when everything seems unreal.’

H. Judah, ‘Rinus Van de Velde Asks Where Art Sits When Everything Seems Unreal’ in frieze, 8 November 2019

Prop, Diner, 2017–2019

cardboard, paint, wood and mixed media
410 x 690 x 290 cm.; 161 3/8 x 271 5/8 x 114 1/8 in.

‘Van de Velde’s 2D fictions oden start in the 3D world: his drawings are based on complex cardboard sets that he constructs in his Antwerp studio and which now are presented in the gallery. The full sized ‘props’ are lovingly detailed – meticulous in their evocative use of space and light – but materially upfront. The naked eye sees the corrugated edges of a cardboard diner (Prop, Diner, all works 2017–19) and the papery surface of a hotel hallway (Prop, Hotel) that drawings of them would conceal.’

H. Judah, ‘Rinus Van de Velde Asks Where Art Sits When Everything Seems Unreal’ in frieze, 8 November 2019

He constantly watches sport on television..., 2018

coloured pencil on paper, in artist's frame
13.9 x 26.8 cm.; 5 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

‘Rinus […] has helped to bring about the return of old Aristotelian aesthetics in which a work of art imitates reality. Whereas previously the viewer already was able to identify with that reality and experience a catharsis as such, with the addition of color the possibility of identification has been amplified. This is not a vain Rinus, looking for fame and admiration, but a Rinus who transforms himself into a character so as to be able to comment indirectly on the dramas of our time. What dramas are these exactly? To name only a few: identity issues, the exhausted person, the trapped individual, the bad conscience of the Westerner, the old-fashioned love drama, or also: the impasse that conceptual art has reached… The sense of tragedy is, as far as I’m concerned, heightened as never before by the use of color and the intimate dimensions of these drawings.’ 

J. Laureyns, ‘The New Avant-Garde Looks Different from the Old One, in Rinus Van de Velde. Colored Pencil Drawings, exh. cat., Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2021, p. 115

Deep in the jungle of our fiction, ..., 2016

charcoal on paper
300 x 600 cm.; 118 1/8 x 236 1/4 in.
Collection: S.M.A.K., Ghent

‘Rinus Van de Velde’s Deep in the jungle of our fiction…. (2016) is a monumental charcoal drawing inspired by Jules Romain’s mock film scenario Donogoo-Tonka or the Miracles of Science. Romain’s cinematographic tale recounts the story of an imaginary staged photography and other manipulative means in order to save the reputaLon of a discredited scientist. Like Romain, Van de Velde, tells filmic stories that unveil an amalgam of imagined events. Deep in the jungle of our fiction… is set in Van de Velde’s studio against the backdrop of an artificially created landscape full of tropical trees and plants that lack botanical accuracy. At its centre, amid the faux foliage, are two figures: a cameraman and a set designer. Their presence symbolises the staginess and constructed nature of Van de Velde’s world, but also epitomises the cross-pollination of cinematic and theatrical influences in his graphic work.’ 

J. Verheye, ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Inner Travels, exh. cat., Bozar-Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels; Hannibal Books, 2022, p. 123

On board of Conrad, things take a weird turn, 2016

charcoal on paper
300 x 600 cm.; 118 1/8 x 236 1/4 in.

‘Not only in his films, but also in his charcoal drawings, Van de Velde accompanies the wild guys of this world on their expeditions: to the library to carry out research, to a gala dinner with sponsors, in a dugout along the Amazon. The drawings have terse subtitles; like voiceovers, they comment on what is taking place but without geong emotional. The artist doesn’t parade himself in a self-deprecating way or makes jokes at his own expense, but presents himself as a sorry character who goes to a lot of fuss and trouble and has nothing to show for it. These characters, whether Van de Velde himself, a friend wearing the artist’s face as a mask, or Alexander Humboldt – who, according to the drawing’s subtitles, personally joins the artist on his explorations – have all had their day. They embody a form of masculinity for which there is evidently no longer any use.’ 

F. Fetzer, ‘Making Of: On Intimacy in the Work of Rinus Van de Velde’, in Rinus Van de Velde. I’d Rather Stay at Home, exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Luzern; Veurne: Hannibal Books, 2021, p. 9

Frank, I need separate buildings..., 2016

charcoal on paper
126 x 120 cm.; 49 5/8 x 47 1/4 in.
Collection: Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague

‘In his very individual drawing style, Van de Velde tells the story of Isaac Weiss, a fictive alter ego who runs an artists’ colony. The home of some of the big names of the 20th century, including Mark Rothko, Jean Brusselmans and Pablo Picasso, this colony is where Van de Velde lives out the ‘wet dream’ of every artist. The storyline enables him not only to put these top artists in contact with one another. It also puts him, as leader of the colony, one rung higher than those who determined the history of modern art.’ 

B. Tempel, ‘Foreword’, in Rinus Van de Velde. Works on Paper, ext. cat., Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague; London, König Books, 2016, p. 5

I've been in a similar position before: attacked by a personified outside...*, 2015

charcoal drawing
200 x 390 cm.; 78 3/4 x 153 1/2 in.
Collection: Belfius Art Collection, Brussels

‘My own character has become the motor of my work, generating questions about where the story should go and what kind of artist I should be. But I don’t think there is one single self that character grows into. As strange as it might seem if you consider the formal limitations I have given myself, my work has always been a method to not become a singular artist. My own taste in art is quite eclectic, and I can’t see any definite fundaments for a clear-cut artistic program of my own. One of the main reasons why I chose to work on a fictional autobiography, is that there are no limitations to what my character can become: he can be a 19th-century sculptor in one series and a hallucinatory outsider in another. In this parallel universe, I can test all sorts of positions without choosing one for the rest of my days. On the other hand, the limitations of my actual life do find their way into my fictional world. It is this tension between and blurring of two dimensions, I am most interested in, I guess.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with M. Taylor, ‘Interview with Rinus Van de Velde’, in Frame, 25 September 2014

It’s as if someone is observing us with a sense of overview we seem to lack, some-one who knows better than us what exactly it is we’re doing here, 2013

charcoal on paper, in two parts
220 x 410 cm.; 86 5/8 x 161 3/8 in.
Collection: M HKA, Antwerp

‘I think solitude and imagination do go hand in hand, but I have to say my working process changed a lot over the past few years. Whereas I used to spend my days alone in the studio, I am now collaborating with a few people. Two friends helped me build the sets, another friend – the one that plays Conrad in the drawings – writes the texts together with me, and a third one does the photographs. I noticed imagination also benefits from these kinds of collaborations. The actual drawing I still do on my own, but in general my practice is not that individualistic. You could even say we form a small scene of people who work on something together, and inspire each other’s work. I like this way of working a lot, since I don’t like to be alone at all.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with M. Taylor, ‘Interview with Rinus Van de Velde’, in Frame, 25 September 2014

Self-portrait as a tennis hero, 2012

charcoal on canvas, framed
230 x 340 cm.; 90 1/2 x 133 7/8 in.

‘After graduating from Antwerp’s St. Lucas School of Arts in 2006, he remained in the city, abracted to its cheap studio space and concentrated creative community. After a while, he found that his life had become entrenched there: close friends, a girlfriend. But still he found himself enamored with those teenage dreams of adventure. “I started fantasizing about this life I didn’t have because I was always in my studio, which is a bit of a white cube,” he explains. “So, I started to invent this story, or these memories which never happened, and it enabled me to stay in my studio, where I like it most, and still think about experiences which I could have had.” Alone in his studio, TV murmuring in the background, Van de Velde translated these fantasies into art. Working from a database of images collated from film stills, newspaper clippings, history books and more, he decided to deliberately ignore any text that accompanied them. Instead, he envisioned his own narrative. What was happening in each picture? And what role did he play in it? From there, he’d begin to draw, oden inserting himself into the action as the floppy-haired, hollow-eyed protagonist. With each imaginative character, a fresh identity was assumed and a new experience had—from the safety and seclusion of his studio. “It’s all about pretending, not about reality,” he says. As his body of work developed, Van de Velde progressed into building his own sets, transforming the studio space into whatever fantasy had captured his imagination.’ 

R. Van de Velde in conversation with P. Usher, ‘Day in the Life: Rinus Van de Velde’, in Kinfolk, issue 28, 5 June 2018, p. 87

I can oversee the endless possibilities and deviations (...), 2012

charcoal on paper
275 x 240 cm.; 108 1/4 x 94 1/2 in.

‘The drawings [...] are based on existing photographs drawn from [chess player Bobby] Fischer’s biography and other sources, which the artist then re-enacted within the confines of his studio, working with props, extras and himself as the protagonist. In doing so, Van de Velde imagines himself to be the main character of some one else’s story, which he appropriates and transforms. The narrative is based upon Fischer’s legendary victory in the 1972 World Championship in Reykjavik, where he defeated his Russian rival Boris Spasski in what has come to be known as “the game of the century”. In Van de Velde’s retelling of the heroic story, Fischer becomes a chess-playing artist, a heroic but obsessive and world-strange hero that controls a game he is completely absorbed by. The game of chess thus becomes a metaphor for a studio-based art practice that revolves around the ego of the artist and gives structure to the unsurpassable chaos of the “outside” world, which consists of an abundance of images.’ 

K. Soels, ‘Rinus Van de Velde: Untitled (The Lost Bishop)’, in Anti-Utopias, 2012

Self-portait as a young Ellsworth Kelly. What you see in this drawing is not me drawing the drawing...*, 2012

charcoal on canvas
270 x 360 cm.; 106 1/4 x 141 3/4 in.
Collection: CAC Malaga, Malaga

‘Accompanied by long titles that begin with a variation on the phrase ’Self-portrait as' and are composed like mini-stories, the drawings have a picturesque as well as a cinematographic, almost Hollywoodian quality. Almost, but not quite, as the ostensible artificiality of the scenes (recurring and random props) makes the reality of their production in the artist's studio creep back in, while anachronisms and blatant historical falsities [...] and self-irony highlight the fictiveness of the stories. But openly fictive and ironic as they may be, the works remain boldly self-centered.’ 

K. Soels, ‘Becoming an Image (and moving on to the next one) on the work of Rinus van de Velde’, in Vault Magazine, April 2013

A triptych about a project I was promised where I could work with some of the finest specimen of Hellenistic and Roman sculpture, 2011

charcoal on paper
200 x 536 cm.; 78 3/4 x 211 in.
Collection: S.M.A.K., Ghent

‘The works do not fit easily in an autonomous tradition that focuses on the work itself and chooses to neglect the artist who made it, and have even less to do with certain neopolitical or social tendencies in contemporary art. Yet the drawings are awkwardly contemporary, and touch a sensitive chord in an age that in spite of all critical deconstructions of the Ego and the Image has never been more obsessed with the self and how it is developed through images. One could say that Van de Velde's practice is essentially a mixed reaction to the image-saturated world the artist grew up in. In his earlier works, Van de Velde used an abundance of available photographic images from magazines like National Geographic and online databases as source material for his drawings. The idea was to try and inhabit that multitude, to appropriate and incorporate it, a gesture that could be seen as a materialisation or enlargement of what every contemporary viewer does to a certain extent: relating images to the world' he lives in, or beber: to reality as he subjectively experiences it.’ 

K. Soels, ‘Becoming an Image (and moving on to the next one) on the work of Rinus van de Velde’, in Vault Magazine, April 2013

All works: © Rinus Van de Velde, photo courtesy of Tim Van Laere Gallery