About Ralph de Lange

Ralph de Lange's artistic journey over the years has been a profound exploration of various themes and mediums.
He has transitioned from traditional oil painting to digital media and photogrphic installations, broadening his artistic horizons.
His work challenges and transcends conventional artistic boundaries, blending elements of photography, painting, and digital art.
Through this fusion, he has developed a visual language that reflects contemporary experiences and inquiries into human desires,
confronted with the general world news.

In "The Mirror" series (2018-2022), de Lange delves into the Mediterranean region, using diverse artistic media
to transform found images into a surreal and imaginative world.
He emphasizes the primacy of painterly representation over objective facts, blurring the lines between reality and surrealism.
Through his artworks, de Lange suggests a world where figures within photographs seem to await revelation,
seeking answers that unveil truths about their existence.

Throughout his career, de Lange has navigated contrasting desires and uncertainties, critiquing modernistic and postmodern attitudes.
His early oil paintings from the 1990s explore themes rooted in 17th-century Dutch history,
revealing a fascination with obscure and cynical content juxtaposed with anachronistic figurative elements.

In "The Nature of the Past – Black Decadence" (2011-2013), de Lange's installation centered around Cleopatra challenges historical
narratives and male fantasies, presenting visual representations that question power dynamics and societal perceptions.
He integrates photography, collages, and painting to investigate human desires and the search for unity within an idealized world.

Subsequent series like "The Arrival" (2008-2012) reflect on contemporary geopolitical events,
from religious deception to the rise of political movements,
capturing the artist's response to media narratives and global events.
Themes of fear, desire, and existentialism permeate de Lange's narrative-driven approach,
where each artwork tells a story rooted in collective experiences and cultural reflections.

In essence, Ralph de Lange's artistic evolution spans decades of creative exploration,
blending historical narratives with contemporary critiques, and weaving together
a diverse range of artistic techniques to provoke thought and evoke emotional responses.
His works challenge viewers to reconsider perceptions of reality, time,
and existence within a world saturated by media and visual representations.

The Mirror 2018-2022

Emphasizing the representation of photographic reality as a sub-reality,
Ralph de Lange's artistic exploration delves into the intersection of painting, digital media, and photography.
His work seeks meaning beyond the found image, transforming factual information into an imaginary world
where painterly representation takes precedence over objective facts.

Over the past two years, de Lange's focus has been on the Mediterranean region,
resulting in a series titled "The Mirror." This collection reflects his ongoing commitment
to exploring diverse artistic media, aesthetic choices, and discursive practices.

De Lange's artistic journey navigates the possibilities of images,
responding to contemporary experiences through optical, cognitive, and sensory models.
Unlike painters who can freely arrange elements, a photographer, according to de Lange,
discovers subjects within the constraints of the medium.
His works suggest a world known only in make-believe,
where figures in pictures appear to await a reason, seeking answers
as if the photo unveils a truth about their existence.

Reality and surreal states coexist in de Lange's creations,
with the meaning and content shifting through the combination and interaction of elements.
The lines between figurative, abstract, and surreal representations blur,
shifting the viewer's perception into a sub-reality.
The figures in his art simultaneously embody physicality
while carrying extensive social and cultural-historical relationships.

Each painting originates from an idea grounded in reality, each with its own unique history.
De Lange employs an analytical approach, exploring diverse sources of material
to manifest specific imagery that portrays human actions in their environments,
revealing collective fears and desires.

In his digital art works, archival images are composed in episodes,
reminiscent of cinematic melodrama or commercial advertising.
Through a process-based practice, categorizations and referential systems
shed their original meanings, developing a life of their own through
rearrangement and narrative combinations of images, expanding in time and space.

His paintings, digital media, and photographs delve into the realms of imagery,
responding to contemporary experiential conditions through optical, cognitive,
and sensory models, utilizing reflective mediums as conveyors of expression.

History repeating 2020

Ralph de Lange's work finds itself at the interface between a wish and the uncertainty of the outcome.
His research in the early years is devoted to human longing. According to De Lange, Romanticism of the 19th century is dead.
The search for a new way of making art, the modernistic search, has ended aswell.
His work shows the contrasts with this paradox of desires.

The outcome of the desire for capitalism is insecure and never enough.
De Lange is working on an anachronistic figurative visual language against the abstraction
and postmodern attitude of the 20 th century. From the beginning in his oeuvre against the modernistic time frame.

The oil paintings in the early nineties investigate the time of the 17th century in the Netherlands. An obscure time.
In matching his pictorial examples, he came across a cynical content that he describes as "Claire AND Obscure".

In his contemporary imagination, Madonna appears with long pieces of meat, young children fighting,
and wayward women who offer themselves sensually.

His pictorial research shifts to the Romantic era in an anachronistic way.
The human being is a wrestler, a seeker with a view to the horizon.
The figures appear distraught, like vagrants, anorexic patients, drunks.
They do not arrive at the horizon but continue to wander around the globe.
The portraits are soulless figures that he leaves us desperate through the paint.

The nature of the past – Black decadence 2011 - 2013

t's all messed up 
when it's nowhere to go, 
so we won't take the time out
'till we reach the top, 

At the center of de Lange"s installation is Cleopatra (Galery Guns & Butter, Amsterdam 2013).
She who was said to control every gaze, is lost here under layers, merely an image of an image,
an icon exclusively perceived and transmitted through visual representations.
Centuries of male fantasies, of her exoticism, luminosity, opulent wealth and power,
diminished to a picture of Elizabeth Taylor on a pale book.

Landscapes behind multi-hued filters take on the appearance of film stills.
The series conveys a mood or a feeling but without a plot. De Lange sets the landscapes in a state of flux.
It suggests nature’s underlying dreamy structures, endless growth and abundance,
and, ultimately, underlines our shared need to connect with it and the stories we create.
Power is one of the subjects where the art of Ralph de Lange relates to,
especially recognizable when it’s portrayed vulnerable.

The underlying motive for this art installation is our search for unity.
A desire for an ideal world.
Are we all kings and queens?
The central question is how can we experience our dreams within reality ?
Is there still a connection with the past or are we on the edge of a new doorway?

Integrating photography, collages, and painting, this research explores the intersection
between cinema, real-life experiences, and the profound inquiry into human desires.

A world without the means of time but captured in time.
The themes of his stories relates to fear and desire, and the making of an existence.
There is no written story, only a story to be told.

The arrival 2008-2012

In the years that followed, De Lange turned his gaze back to Europe.
The religion and its deception in the series 'The mission 2015',
the religion and its exodus to the Syrian / Middle East Caliphate (The arrival 2016).
Then follows the reflection on the rise of the America First movement in the series 'Move on' 2018.
Tyranny, wars, and impotence reach De Lange through the media.
Almost all the images he paints are based on existing material,
such as film stills, own photos, and/or photos found on the internet
or in card totes via the local markets.

Ophelia 2004-2008

In the years that follow, thoughts shift that get stuck in the destruction (Ophelia 2006-2008)
or in the impossible outcome of the quest itself (The impossible 2010-2012).

The return to the center of his starting point: 'The paradox of desire'. After a stay of 2 months in Los Angeles,
the series "The search" and "The impossible" were created.
A photographic anti-imagination about a fabricated worldview called Hollywood.

Don't look now 2000-2004

The new millennium brings large works to an even larger format. This to compete with Billboards,
advertisements, and the movie screen format. The format plays a big role in trying
to be the counterpart of a media world full of advertising.
The power of perfection comes mainly from Hollywood.
The impotence remains after watching the images from the media, the TV, and the films with its unreal world.
De Lange makes the experience central to the counterbalance he formulated: "Don't look now".
Working on large scale paintings, autonomous photography, drawing, digital prints and installations.