The press on Ruud van Empel

Artist Ruud van Empel (Breda, 1958) makes collages of self-made photos that he combines using Photoshop to create an idealized representation. In fact, with familiar elements he presents a world with which we are not acquainted. We have only the image that is dished up to us by Van Empel in the minutest detail. You could perhaps refer to this work as ‘illusionary’ but, at the same time, his images have an unparalleled reality content. Nevertheless, you never encounter anything like this in real life. These unheard and unseen features make them delusionary. This apparent conflict determines the quality of his work and its appreciation to a large extent. In Van Empel’s work, illusion is a paradox.’

De Nieuwe/January 2015 (Art Magazine of the Arti et Amicitiae Association)
The illusion as paradox/ By Alex de Vries

‘In Van Empel’s world, creating portraits is a relative concept. People who think they recognize themselves in his portraits – which happens regularly – are mistaken. He constructs the faces of his ‘small figures’, as he himself calls them, bit by bit, on the computer. He developed this method himself, down through the years. He points to the wall behind his desk, to a portrait of a school class. ‘Every face is made up of a countless number of fragments, which I collect from all over the place. Every face is one file that I subsequently combine with all other files to make a whole. Van Empel is sometimes busy for a month with one work.’

NRC Weekblad October 2010
Searching for Childlike Innocence / By Pieter Kottman

‘Still-Life-fungi, a voluptuous still life that refers to the Vanity paintings from the seventeenth century and on which fungus plays the leading role, accommodates a whole arsenal of narratives and insights. This work shows Van Empel in top form, as an artist who reinvents photography and gives reality a knockout blow with his reconstructions.’

Het Parool 15-09-2014 (National daily newspaper)
Van Empel asks questions / By Ronald Ockhuysen