Dutch artist Ruud van Empel (b. 1958) creates unique worlds where nothing is what it seems like. The pioneer of digital photography carefully combines photographed elements creating perfect worlds. The works are assembled from hundreds of separately photographed “photographic objects” and it can take up to three months to create one image. Unlike surrealism, van Empel strives for a natural level of reality. In his images, the world is transformed through photomontage into a place full of strange beauty.
In van Empel’s work, you can see references to the history of Dutch painting and early photomontage artists, for example. Van Empel creates a new genre within photography, without there being no ready-made terms for it. He calls it “building up a photographic image”. The hyperrealism that appears in his work makes us more aware of the reality around us, this is where the great subtlety of Ruud van Empel´s works lies.
The Illusions of Reality exhibition, which can be seen at the Kuopio VB Photography Center, includes five series of works from different eras from van Empel’s career. His work is now on display in Finland for the first time.
Ruud van Empel’s works have been acquired for private collections, e.g. Sir Elton John, who characterizes the works as a photography of 21st century. His work has been exhibited worldwide in museums such as the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, The George Eastman House and the MoPA Museum of Photography Arts in San Diego in the United States, Stockholm Fotografiska in Sweden and the FoMU Fotomuseum in Antwerp Province in Belgium.