The Villagers

Rinus Van de Velde presents his first large-scale film project after two years of preparation. Alongside the movie, a number of new charcoal drawings are on display, along with color drawings and three sets from the movie. As a whole, it is a comprehensive installation allowing the viewer to enter the universe of the artist. In recent years, Van de Velde has increasingly evolved into a “total artist”. He constantly creates a tension between fiction and reality through the use of different media such as drawings, sculptures, installations and now film as well.

One could say that the move to the medium of film is an almost logical evolution in the works of Van de Velde, characterized by their highly narrative nature. In his drawings, the artist often depicts landscapes or scenes that are reminiscent of movies. They appear to be temporary snapshots, like individual images taken from a longer cinematic story. This narrative aspect is further reinforced by the addition of text, as a kind of subtitle: literary accounts add an aspect to the depicted events.

The Villagers is not a classic linear story. Van de Velde’s choice to work without a fixed script results in a series of separate fragments that are only connected by the order and editing of the scenes. The movie shows the lives of a number of characters living in a small village in an undefined landscape. The realistic high-quality production contrasts with the constructed, abstracted environment and the fictional characters played by Rinus Van de Velde himself, his assistants, friends and the gallerist, none of whom are professionally trained actors. This emphasizes the tension between fiction and reality and ensures that we as spectators have little to hold on to. It all feels very familiar, but at the same time so clearly rooted in fake, copy and imitation, because none of the elements has the pretense of being “real”.


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