Rinus Van de Velde ( 1983 )

The work of Rinus Van de Velde engages images and stories in a mythologized biography that consists of drawings and narrative texts. Van de Velde’s masterfully drawn Siberian charcoal drawings are loosely inspired by photographic images culled from various sources, but paired with the artist’s words personally scribed on the gallery walls, they create open-ended narratives for the viewer to interpret. This scaled museum installation replicates the exhibition titled Dear David Johnson, one chapter of the larger story Van de Velde tells in his work. Each exhibition further develops and adds to the artist’s fabricated autobiography. In this case, the wall texts are excerpted from a letter the artist wrote to imagined curator David Johnson, explaining why he missed their scheduled meeting. Van de Velde’s work blends truth and fantasy, creating a complex world in which documentation and fiction, reproduction and reconstruction intrinsically tie together. The personal mythologies he builds with his nostalgic drawings tap into our collective unconscious, allowing the viewer to glean a greater truth from the artist’s fictional realities.