Introduction by Francis Hodgon
Internationally celebrated Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel opens first major UK exhibition in London.
Beetles + Huxley are delighted to introduce to London the strange and wonderful world of Ruud van Empel, one of the most innovative and influential photographers working today. Van Empels distinctive work embraces a spectrum of references including Dutch Old Masters, German Renaissance painters and early photomontage artists. Through his sometimes charming, sometimes controversial images, Van Empel explores notions of youth and innocence by channeling many of his own childhood experiences. His most recognised work features black children, pictured alone or in pairs, set against a dense paradise of supersaturated lush greenery. Imbuing innocence with a hint of danger, Van Empel’s work forces the viewer to question what is comfortable and real, as they are presented with this strange beauty. Van Empel’s pioneering techniques have completely changed the face of digital photography. Using a vast library of digital body parts, fabrics and foliage, he creates dream-like photographic utopias, where nothing is exactly as it seems.
The world has fallen in love with the luxurious vibrancy of his digital collages, and in recent years he has enjoyed unparalleled succes at auctions. Sir Elton John is one of the many notable photography collectors to have acquired Van Empel’s work. His artwork has been exhibited worldwide by museums including teh George Eastman House, Rochester New York, The Groninger Museum in the Netherlands and the Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, California.