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Rinus van de Velde: contemporary drawing now

Rinus van de Velde

The large charcoal drawings by Belgian artist Rinus Van de Velde (b. 1983) are based on photographs gleaned from sources such as National Geographic and New Scientist; popular disseminators, before the rise of the Internet, of the exotic or seldom seen.

Although Van de Velde's reproduction of such imagery provides ample evidence of fine mimetic skills, the artist's aim is not simply to create near-perfect facsimiles, but to question the semiotics of images themselves.

Decontextualised and stripped of their original meaning, Van de Velde's drawings of photographs offer absurd or unfathomable glimpses of once-explicable realities.

By frequently adding incongruous captions to his work (in a hand oddly reminiscent of Raymond Pettibon's similar annotations), Van de Velde further emphasises this disconnect.

Labelling past events with an authority we are probably unable to question, the capacity to impose entirely new narratives on marooned, decontextualised imagery is also made clear.

Van de Velde's concerns are, of course, a common theme in both modern and contemporary art, and several other artists for whom drawing is a principal medium employ very similar strategies (the well-known Fernando Bryce and Dutch artist Bas Louter among them).

Nevertheless, Van de Velde's solid representational skills and quirky humour make his drawings works to relish on many different levels.

Contemporary drawing: Rinus van de Velde
Contemporary drawing: Rinus van de Velde

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