22 February – 18 March 2017
Beetles+Huxley stage the first exhibition devoted entirely to the portraiture of the pioneering Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel. The exhibition includes 21 works, including 12 from the photographer’s latest series, Mood, which has never been shown in the UK before.
Ruud van Empel’s distinctive style has evolved through an on-going exploration of the tension between straight photography and digital technology. His images are digitally constructed from a synthesis of hundreds of diverse fragments taken from his own photographs. He digitally dissects and reconstructs images to create his works, as eyes, noses and lips are collaged together to create brand new faces. Ruud van Empel skilfully blends the techniques of collage, painting and photography, forcing the viewer to question their own conceptions of the constructed, and the ‘real.’
Throughout his career, Ruud van Empel has made photographs that connect with art history, interweaving references including Dutch Old Masters, German Renaissance painters and early photomontage artists into his work. His digitally rendered photographs of children explore notions of youth and innocence. Van Empel gathers his imagery from a wide range of sources including his own personal childhood memories. New works on display, from the series Mood, continue this exploration of lost childhood innocence set against a backdrop of cultural conservatism. The images from Mood are to be set in the context of earlier works from his series Sunday, Identity, and critically acclaimed Moon and World.