As an artist working across a variety of media, Rinus Van de Velde has made a career of exposing the limits and potential of art’s seeming unreality. His work suggests that the fictitiousness of art relates to its distance from the particulars of everyday life. But if art is something that we can only experience at select—one might even say privileged—moments, viewers still have to account for the living, breathing personalities who gave shape to a work. Although centuries of art criticism have claimed that art should aspire to disinterested formalism, Van de Velde foregrounds the strange identity of an artist with their art. The fact that he often uses an alter ego to sign off on his works makes the interrelation between art and artist all the more apparent—as well as wryly conspiratorial.
Large-format charcoal drawings are often the medium of choice for Rinus Van de Velde. Many times, he appears as the protagonist in his works, either as an artistic alter ego or as a figure modelled after existing persons. Van de Velde molds characters who travel, explore, and search – for their own self, a new inspiration, and sometimes just for the next gas station and a pack of cigarettes. Van de Velde has already attained international success and has long been a star of the Belgian art scene. He refers to his artistic work as one long story.