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

-Ruud van Empel

Ruud van Empel used to design, among other things, the sets for the wacky misadventures of my absolute favorite Dutch television series for kids called Theo & Thea. I was still in art school back then, studying scenography, and he was one of my inspirators. So at first when I heard of his decision in to turn his back on film and television because of his irritation about its growing commercialization I was truly disappointed.

 Until I laid eyes on his digital photo collages and found they absolutely justified his decision. He still cuts, glues and manipulates to create new worlds only now using a computer as his paintbrush and not limited in any way anymore, the results are astonishing.

His photos may look quite realistic, but what they represent has in fact never existed. They are creations, subtly and meticulously composed by combining as many as 100 images into a single scene and almost too perfect to be true, every detail, every color is sublimated.

But you only have to look a little bit closer to at all that perfect greener-than-green scenery to know that there is something malicious lurking beneath the surface, a nameless, indefinable threat, but nonetheless present everywhere. A feeling of disquiet crawls under your skin and will remain with you for quite a while.

Website: www.ruudvanempel.nl
Show: gallery Terra in Tokio, Japan, April 18 – May 23, 2009