Ruud Van Empel is an artist we’ve been buying and selling for many years. Several years ago, certain aesthetic began to come out of the Netherlands, starting with the powerful portraits of Loretta Lux. Ruud Van Empel came onto the scene around the time, fascinating the art world and collectors with a certain Je ne sais quo- the public spellbound by these images of black children set against almost fluorescent green backdrops.
We thought it would be interesting to disclose how he does this work and some background.
His photographic images, digital collages made out from fragments of hundreds of his own photographs, have a sense of permanence and are very inspiring. His subjects seem to have time to stand and stare: time to evaluate, to be part of nature, to watch their dreams. There is an inherent beauty, tranquility, nature and pureness. The softness of his tone, though, in no way diminishes the sharpness of his work. There is a sort of attendant pressure: an invisible complication: something that looms over these idyllic scenes.
In a way Van Empel’s incredible skill in contemporary digital techniques stems from a long tradition of artists who are interested more generally in photography as an art form - an idea that originates from the days of the Cubists; the collages of Kurt Schwitters; the photomontages of Man Ray. It may even be argued that this lineage dates even further back to the days of the nineteenth century when collaging – the combining of multiple images to form a new whole – was born, not only out of technical necessity but also from an artistic desire or need.