Let the Engine Run
For many artists, painting is a means of self-exploration. Portraying aspects ofthemselves, they adopt telling roles and fictional identities within the scenes theydepict, presenting their own alter egos. The same is true of Van de Velde, whoseworks present elements of himself in various roles and contexts. Citing a familiargrand motif, he’ll deflate and contradict it with a small format and laconic title; evoking great artists, he’ll integrate them or their ideas and works into his images; freezing his various scenes in time, he creates images like stills from a film.
This exploration of the self has also been an element of Van de Velde’s previous works, in which surreal characters represent facets of his own existence. These parallel existences allow the artist to construct further loops and fictions thatsometimes become stage sets for ensuing meta-stories and alternative narratives. His meanderings between the real and the constructed are encapsulated in the captions of his images, which suggest a possible decoding of his pictures but ultimately serve as commentaries on his own, concealed temporal or mental world. The world ofunseen aspects of Van de Velde’s self is revealed through works of self-reflectionand self-representation, which, rather than necessarily documenting his status asan artist, expose his character and artistic inspiration, layer by layer, producing‘para-portraits’ of the artist observed — be it Van de Velde himself or anotherpainter who inspired him. His playful and unconscious mind, imagination and memorytake centre stage as a factual part of the biography of an artist who describeshimself as “in two states of being”, where there is very little difference between reality and fiction — “even in broad daylight”.
Born in 1983 in Leuven, Belgium, Van de Velde is currently based in Berlin andAntwerp. His solo shows include The Colony, at KWM Art Centre Beijing (2019); NowI am the night of nights, at Kunstpalais Erlangen (2018); Rinus Van de Velde, atGemeentemuseum (2016); Donogoo Tonka, at SMAK, Ghent (2016); Kunsthalle Sao Paolo(2015); and CAC Malaga (2013). Upcoming one-person exhibitions will be held at KunstmuseumLucerne, FRAC Pays de la Loire, Nantes, and BOZAR – Centre for Fine ArtsBrussels, Belgium. Rinus van de Velde was included at group shows in internationalinstitutions such as the Hayward Gallery, UK (2018-2019); Kunstmuseum Luzern (2018);Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen (2018); CAFA Art Museum Beijing, China (2014); and NanzukaUnderground Gallery Tokyo (2011).