Naarden Study #14, 2002.
Cibachrome 100cmx60cm.
© Ruud van Empel

RvE: As always, there are so many, my whole life i have been looking at art and this builds up your own personal databank, deep in your brain all these images are somehow preserved and out of that a certain taste for art results i guess.

Artist that were important to me are: Otto Dix, Mike Disfarmer, Norbert Ghisoland, Lucas Cranach, Georges Melies, Walter Spies, Edvard Munch, Federico Fellini, Saul Steinberg, Cindy Sherman e Tadanori Yokoo


FB: A lot of contemporary art is purely conceptual and gestural. The formal aspect, if it matter, is often antiaesthetic. Your photographies, as well as being innovative, surreal, mysterious, as well as they establish a dialogue with the audience, are also quite beautiful. Can you talk about the importance of aesthetics in your job? Do you believe that the time has come to rediscover beauty? Do you ever get a critique of your images because they are “too beautiful”?

RvE: What is crazy about this question is the fact that beauty has been a taboo in modern art for such a long time, it was seen as weak to make beautiful pictures, but in fact it is very difficult to create real beauty.

When I choose the subject of innocence i wanted to show it’s beauty, innocence is beauty, and that is important to understand and not to forget.

So that is one of the important reasons that my images are beautiful, because of this subject.

Another reason is that I am tired of cynical and ironical images, or just ugly images that are strange and not understandable, we have seen so much of that in contemporary art the last 30 to 40 years,
I feel I needed to do something different.


World #23
World #23, 2006. Cibachrome 150cmx105cm.
© Ruud van Empel

FB: Yes, I absolutely agree on this principle, it is time to see something new.

But let’s go back a moment to your way of working.To obtain images combining various heterogeneous elements, requires a lot work and is really time consuming. In art, especially contemporary art, the complexity of the technique does not really matter. But photography always was concerned with difficulties of implementation and technical complexity. Images obtained through long and difficult process often seem to have an added value. Long manipulation obtained in the darkroom were exposed with pride. Today when in a few seconds you can achieve the same result with a Photoshop filter, nobody thinks to those prints as works of art. In your case, are you interested only in the final result, and run through the collage work is the only possible way to get it? Or in the process of collage do you find your personal aesthetic, an intrinsic motivation?

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