Rinus Van de Velde
untitled (The Lost Bishop)

For his contribution to the Biennale of Bucharest, Van de Velde made a new, site-specific installation that consists of a series of black-and-white wall drawings in charcoal and a narrative text. Together, they tell a story based on the biography of Bobby Fischer (1943-2008), who is considered to be one of the greatest, but also most controversial chess players of all time.

The drawings Van de Velde presents are based on existing photographs drawn from Fischer’s biography and other sources, which the artist then re-enacted within the confines of his studio, working with props, extras and himself as the protagonist. In doing so, Van de Velde imagines himself to be the main character of some one else’s story, which he appropriates and transforms.

The narrative is based upon Fischer’s legendary victory in the 1972 World Championship in Reykjavik, where he defeated his Russian rival Boris Spasski in what has come to be known as “the game of the century”. In Van de Velde’s retelling of the heroic story, Fischer becomes a chess-playing artist, a heroic but obsessive and world-strange hero that controls a game he is completely absorbed by. The game of chess thus becomes a metaphor for a studio-based art practice that revolves around the ego of the artist and gives structure to the unsurpassable chaos of the “outside” world, which consists of an abundance of images.

The large-scale drawings ask the viewer to “suspend thei disbelief” and literally step into the fictive story. At the same time, they reflect on the illusionistic function of drawing, storytelling, fantasy and romantic ideas of geniality and heroism. Although these are myths, Van de Velde suggests, they could still be considered to have a productive, self-realizing value in the real of the outside world. (Koen Sels)

This project is featured courtesy of BB5 / Bucharest Biennale 5



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Rinus Van de Velde (born 1983) lives and works in Antwerp. His practice mainly consists of drawings that hearken back to a personal archive of photographs derived from vulgarizing scientific magazines such as National Geographic, from biographies of artists and scientists… Lately, he often re-enacts found footage or even stages non-existent scenes in photographs, which he then uses as source material. Van...