February FEATURED Artist: Rodrigue Vanhoutte
30 January, 2019
After many years living in seclusion and revolt against the contemporary art scene, Rodrigue Vanhoutte is having a comeback. As a result, he has a huge body of exciting work to bring to the public. The Belgian born and now Spain based artist, has been a painter his entire life from the age of 2, after being born deaf.
He started painting with oils at 13, when he also discovered Nietzsche. He believes that painting is a kind of philosophy, and of the human condition he says “We are all desperately seeking a piece of magic, something that makes sense, and at the same time, we kill everything – and that fact, that feeling, is an important part of my work”
At another point he states “Like many people I imagine, I feel totally destitute in the face of the stupidity of my time.”
Thanks to several surgeries he gained his sense of hearing, and studied art between 1990 and 1996 at the institutes St Luc de Tournai and Liège. He entered the Academy of fine arts (before leaving at the end of 15 days, disappointed) and then did courses of philosophy and history of Art at the University of Liège
Rodrigues’ journey has been tumultuous: As a young prodigy of painting, his studio was destroyed, over 150 of his paintings were stolen and he says he was betrayed by a business partner – as a result he decided to turn his back on everything that was ‘art market’ and he started living ‘out of system’
Luckily throughout these years he continued to have the support of his former Masters, and a few art collectors, as he travelled from one place to another, visiting all parts of Europe. He met many people, with all kinds of social backgrounds, and gave conferences about Art and Philosophy to make a little money, selling his work ‘from hand to hand’, which he reflects on as a good thing ‘After all, my work talks about the human condition’
He states that “Art has become the toy of untalented speculators, and I have finally accepted the fact that if I wanted to be heard, I had to agree to play the game again’. I have come to the conclusion that today, the influence of a Painter must no longer be so much of an aesthetic as a moral and ethical order”
He continues: “I am one of those painters for whom the painting does not serve to decorate the salons, but to describe the human condition and to fight against the enemy (and like Picasso); the stupidity, the facility, the desperate hedonism of our time, in short all that draws humanity down.”
Described as charismatic by some, Rodrigues’ friends tell him that he’s straight out of the 18th Century. He states that in the early 1990s, the message that was taught even in Art schools was “Painting is dead, it has become nerdy”.
His reaction was to become obsessed by the History of pigments, colours, and old techniques; he began to mix his own colours from pure pigments and different kind of oils…seeing the Painter a bit like an alchemist… he also sees himself as a ‘Post-baroque’ painter and is heavily influenced by ‘El Greco’.
Rodrigue has always been always surprised by the success that his paintings encounter when he exposes them. He has a long list of exhibitions (as you can read on his online bio below) and his works are part of many private collections in Belgium, Holland, England, France and Spain, including those of the Governor of the Province of Liège M. Forest, or patrons as A – P Laixhay and J.Iniesta.
Rodrigue is also an occasional lecturer in the history of painting, and is the author of several essays on the plastic philosophy and history of art.
We are honoured to have been chosen by Rodrigue to represent him in his comeback. See more about the artist and his work at https://artfuly.com/artists/rodriguevanhoutte.