Ruud Van Empel
World #25, 2007, Cibachrome 118.1 x 39.4 inches
World #30, 2008, Cibachrome 33 x 47 inches
World #13, 2006, Cibachrome 33 x 36.5 inches
Boy & Girl, World Series, 2008. Cibachrome 67 x 95 inches
World #24, 2006, Cibachrome 11.5 x 16.8 inches
World #27, 2008, Cibachrome 33 x 47 inches
World #31, 2008, Cibachrome 23,5 x 33 inches
About the Artist
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 the 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.”
Posted by Carmelita Caruana