Ronald Ophuis

Born in 1968, in Hengelo, The Netherlands.
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


It was thought that painting had to bow before the swift development of photography and cinema by definitively disengaging itself from figuration and narration. The history of modern art has never ceased to promote a concrete, dematerialised, objectivised painting in a state of forms and colours. Raised with the realism of mechanical images, today's public of the multimedia era has acquired the ability to understand the most violent of motifs. This distancing is assured by the identification of contexts of a precise distribution, which modify the limits of what can be borne case by case. In cinema, images of war are recognised as being fictional, on the TV news as being pure information; in the best of worlds, they are seen as comprehensible, in the worst as anodyne.

The Dutch artist, Ronald Ophuis, calls into question these distancing mechanisms by rehabilitating painting as a channel for transmission in order to show basic horror. Once painted, the depictions of rape, murder or torture that we generally see on screens break the literal (and not literary) pact between the author and the viewer. The images cease to be only images and absent reality gains substance as a result. By definition, figuration has nothing of the factuality or instantaneous nature of a photograph; it is a process the result of which can only be elaborated. To paint, Ronald Ophuis has to concentrate his mental and technical faculties to get beyond the ordinary depiction and attain the terrifying reconstruction. The fiction - which is nevertheless considerable since he is not a witness of the scenes he paints - is emptied to give way to the dramas which for the observer have no discernible beginning or end.

Exhibiting Ronald Ophuis for the Ceysson gallery is a matter of accompanying the painting of contemporary history, not for what it is capable of showing of our times, but for what it entails in absolute terms. Some critics refuse to associate this painting to the greater genre (as Félibien dubbed it), because they say that there is no metaphysical reasoning behind his scenes of violence. But on the contrary, Ronald Ophuis stuns for the way he delves to the very bottom of human nature where only the silences are intelligible.

Alexis Jakubowicz
My work consists of the creating and painting of fictitious events. I stage the drama in my studio. Actors playing and reconstructing the scene in front of a camera. Before I start I do my research and read a lot about the story, I gather statements and images. I try to visit the places I will reconstruct and take photographs of the environment in which the story took place. I talk to people who were really there and have experienced the story I want to show in my painting. I collect clothes they were wearing or have them made for me.

I take a lot of photographs of the actors in my studio. The best ones I will use for the life size paintings. De actors are set in scenes such as an execution, a miscarriage, a rape, a war scene, etc.

The painting tells a fictitious story but the metaphor of the painting can’t be ignored because of the affect the painting will evoke. The emotion the painting can bring on is real. For this, poetry or art is more suited than CNN. Journalism informs you but gives you less feeling of suffering, confusion, deprivation or fear. Journalism is much more superficial and does not appeal to beauty or style as art can do.

A work of art gives you the opportunity to identify with an other person. With the victim but also with the offender. I try not to work with set morals because your frame of mind will stay within a confined area and the impact of the work will diminish. The way that is dealt with violence and sexuality within my work increases the possibility to identify with the subject in the paintings. Even if they’re not the phantasies of the spectator, the experience will be physical and less easy to ignore. A painting claims more time and if you’re moved by the work you will take more time to read it. Not only the depiction but also the way it has been painted claims your attention.

Ronald Ophuis
Solo shows at Ceysson Gallery
Ronald Ophuis, Wandhaff
September 22 - November 10, 2018

Ronald Ophuis, Paris
October 23 - December 13, 2014

Ronald Ophuis, Luxembourg
February 09 - April 20, 2013

Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
Guerre(s), Paris
December 18, 2019 - February 01, 2020

10 YEARS in Luxembourg, Wandhaff
June 02 - August 04, 2018

Solo Shows

Syria 2011, Poland 1945 and other Moments in History, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium

Hacking Habitat. Art of Control,, P.I. Wolvenplein, Utrecht, Netherlands
ta.bu, Maison Particulière, Brussels, Belgium
Read My Lips, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Je ne suis pas Vincent, Galerie Reuten, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Engage, Exchange, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Teatro La Tregua, Arab Spring, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Intimate Strangers. Politics as Celebrity, Centro Cultural Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile
In The Picture, Gemeente Museum Den Haag, Netherlands
Silence out Loud, Museum Kranenburgh, Bergen, Norway
Onderdrukking en Verzet, Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, Zwolle, Netherlands
Humble Me, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium

Full House, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Zenuwenoorlog, VIVES Campus & Museum Dr. Guislain, Kortrijk, Brussels, Belgium
de-Passages: Universum Achterhoek!, Espace Enny, Laag Keppel, Netherlands
Impulsief, TETEM kunstruimte, Enschede, Netherlands
Blind Date, DAK, Utrecht, Netherlands
Marches Funèbres, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Paris, France

Ronald Ophuis, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg

Marches Funèbres, curated by Johan van der Veen, Akkuh, Hengelo, Holland
Marches Funèbres, curated by Jasminka Poklecki Stosic, Galerija Klovićevi Dvori, Zagreb, Croatia

PAX, Fondation Francès, curated by Estelle Francès, Senlis, France

Civilians, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland

Art Amsterdam, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland

Endgame, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium

Grave, Iraq 2003, Sorry we're closed project space, Gallery Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium

Project Srebrenica, curated by Suzanne Oxenaar, Lloyd Hotel & Culturele Ambassade , Amsterdam, Holland

Threnody, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland

Tekeningen 1997-2000, curated by Toos Arends, Fries Museum Buro Leeuwarden, Leeuwarden, Holland
Liste 2000, The Young Art Fair, Galerie De Praktijk, Basel, Switzerland
Birkenau, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Birkenau, Kunstruimte Wagemans, Beesterzwaag, Holland

Five Paintings on Violence, commissariat d'exposition : Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Holland

Wild East, Wild West, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland

Ronald Ophuis, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland

Group Shows

Salle des Pas-Perdus, DOC, Paris, France

Apocalypse, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
Armando Tot Mulders Tot Visch, Museum Flehite, Amersfoort, Holland

Mighty as well, commissariat Eelco van der Lingen, Nest, The Hague, Holland
Silence out Loud, Museum Kranenburgh, curated by Joost Zwagerman, Bergen, Holland
Hacking Habitat, Hightech Control & Lowlife Survival, curated by Ine Gevers, P.I. Wolvenplein, Utrecht, The Netherlands & ZKM Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Allemagne

Hacking Habitat. Art of Control, commissariat Ine Gevers, P.I. Wolvenplein, Utrecht, Holland, ZKM Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Allemagne
ta.bu, Maison Particulière, Brussels, Belgium
Je ne suis pas Vincent, commissariat Cornel Bierens, Galerie Reuten, Amsterdam, Holland
Engage, Exchange, commissariat Corine van Emmerik, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam, Holland
Manege, commissariat Wilco Tuinebreijer, Art-Deli, Amsterdam, Holland

Busan Biennale. Inhabiting the World, Busan Museum of Art, curated by Olivier Kaeppelin, Busan, Corée du Sud
Bad Thoughts, Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders, curated by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Holland
Zenuwenoorlog, VIVES Campus & Museum Dr. Guislain, Kortrijk, Brussels
The Beauty of Violence, De Garage, curated by Hans van der Ham, Rotterdam, Holland
de-Passages: Universum Achterhoek!, Espace Enny, curated by Ronald Ruseler, Laag Keppel, Holland
Bison Caravan, Tierrafino, curated by Hilarius Hofstede, Amsterdam, Levenslang, Het Dolhuys, Haarlem, Holland
Full House, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium

Badly Natured, Nest, curated by Eelco van der Lingen and Joncquil de Vries, Den Haag, Holland
E-Motion, Collection Bernard Massini, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence, France
Facing Nature, Collection de Heus-Zomer, Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen, Holland
A Decade Upstream, Only Dead Fish go with the Flow, Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy, Amsterdam, Holland
War and Trauma, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, Belgium
XXH, Fondation Francès, Senlis, France
Ik hou van Holland, Nederlandse kunst na 1945, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Holland
Sign of the Times, Carré Saint Anne, curated by Richard Leydier, Montpellier, France
The Glorious Rise and Fall… (and so on), PART I, curated by Marjan Teeuwen, Groot Zieken Gasthuis, 's Hertogenbosch, Holland
Kortrijk Vlaandert, Broelmuseum, curated by Hilde Van Canneyt, Kortrijk, Belgique
In Alle Staten, Collection Fondation Francès, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, Belgium
The Flood, curated by Frans Fransiscus, Witteveen Visual Arts Centre, Amsterdam, Holland
De Mens, DE-PASSAGES, curated by Margreet Bouman en Ronald Russeler, Haarlem, Holland
Visioen versus Confrontatie, curated by Alied Ottevanger, Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, Holland
Gruwelijk Goed, Smartlab, Enschede, Holland
The Gunshot, curated by Hans Theys, Gallery Marion De Cannnière, Antwerp, Belgium
Twente Biennale 2013, curated by Kees de Groot, Enschede, Holland
Witnessing You, Booklaunch (book by Caroline Nevejan), De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, Holland
Shadowboxing, curated by Arjen Lancel and Frans Fransiscus, Loft Project Etage, St. Petersburg, Russia

De Nederlandse identiteit? Half zand, half suiker, curated by Hanne Hagenaars, Museum De Paviljoens, Holland
Just Painting, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, Holland
Linkse Hobby, Jan Cunen Museum, Oss, Holland
War and Trauma, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, Belgium
Figuurlijk, curated by Imke Ruigrok and Nathanja van Dijk, Museum Hilversum, Hilversum, Holland
Who told you so, curated by Freek Lomme, Onomatopee, Eindhoven, Holland
Prikkeldraad, curated by Claar Griffioen, Dek 22, Rotterdam, Holland
Take my Soul, Galerie Exprm'ntl, Toulouse, France
From a Painter's Perspective, curated by Harm van den Berg, Arnout Killian and Frenk Meeuwsen, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Holland
We Like Art Show, curated by Michiel Hogenboom and Carolien Smit, Kerk straat 67 and ING House, Amsterdam, Holland
Rollercoaster, curated by Joost Zwagerman, Museum of the Image(MOTI), Breda, Holland

Dangerously Young/Gevaarlijk Jong, Museum Dr. Guislain, Ghent, Belgium
El Fin de la Historia… y el retorno de la Pintura de Historia, curated by Paco Barragán, DA2, Salamanca, Spain
Two sides, Ronald Ophuis en Harold de Bree, curated by Tom Abbink and Vincent Uilenbroek, Horizon/Verticaal, Haarlem, Holland
The End of History… and the Return of History Painting, curated by Paco Barragán, Museum of Modern Art, MMKA, Arnhem, Holland
Plaats Delict, curated by Daniel Schwabe, paraplufabriek, Nijmegen, Holland
MJCTV 2, Museum Jan Cunen, Oss, Holland
The Armory Show, Upstream Gallery, New York, USA
Twente Biennale 2011, commissariat d'exposition : Kees de Groot, Hengelo, Holland
Art Brussels, gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary. Brussels, Belgium

High Drama, Collection Hugo and Carla Brown, curated by Ken Pratt, Pop Up NL, London, United Kingdom
Contemporary Istanbul, Upstream Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
Twente Collectie, AKKUH, Hengelo, Holland
Over Spoken, Monsters, Flesgeesten en andere scheve Verschijningen, curated by Hans Theys, Project Space 1646, The Hague, Holland
The Alchemy of Delusion, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, Galerie Eva Hober, Paris, France
We like 6%, curated by Michiel Hogenboom, Noord Dakota, Amsterdam, Holland
Art Brussels, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Belgium
Op papier gezet, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Holland

Art Brussels, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Warum ich kein Konservativer bin, Museum der Bildende Kunst Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Open, Zoya Museum, Modra, Slovakia
Art Rotterdam, Upstream Gallery, Rotterdam, Holland
Tekens van Leven en Dood, GEMAK, The Hague, Holland
"Faux Frerers & …. ….", Galerie In Situ, Aalst, Belgium
Ruhezeit Abgelaufen, curated by Hans van Houwelingen, Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, Holland
Twente Biennale, curated by Kees de Groot, Hazartfactory, Hengelo, Holland
Zoo Art Fair London, Upstream Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Art Brussels, Upstream Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Aanwinsten, curated by Sandrine Van Noort, LUMC, Leiden, Holland
'That's all Folks!', curated by Jerome Jacobs and Michel Dewilde, Belfry Stadshallen, Bruges, Belgium

Painful Painting, curated by Rene Pingen, Jan Cunen Museum, Oss, Holland
Die Wasseruben und Die Kohl, curated by Rolf Quaughebeur, De Witte Zaal, Ghent, Belgium
Power to the People, curated by Pierre-Yves Desaive, Gallery Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
I'm not here, curated by Eelco van der Lingen and Joncquil de Vries, Nest, The Hague, Holland
Art Rotterdam, Gallery Aeroplastics. Rotterdam, Holland
Deadly Serious, Exprmntl Gallery, Toulouse, France
NADA Art Fair, Upstream Gallery, Miami, USA
Strip en Kunst, Singer Museum Laren, Laren, Holland
Een Schim Van Gisteren, curated by Arjan Brentjes and Mischa Andriessen, Galerie Gist, Brummen, Arti et amicitiae, Amsterdam, Holland

NADA Art Fair, Upstream Gallery, Miami, USA
Strange Brew, curated by Wolfgang Schoppmann, Max Lang Gallery/Haas und Fuchs Gallery , New York, USA
De Herinnering, curated by Marcel van Kerkvoorde, Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, Vijfhuizen, Holland
Grande Finale, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Love is in the Air, Exprmntl Gallery, Toulouse, France
Contour, curated by Jaap van den Ende and Jan Hein Sassen, Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft, Holland
Lang Leve De schilderkunst, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Holland

Blessed are the Merciful, commissariat d'exposition : Jerome Jacobs, Gallery Feigen Contemporary, New York, USA
Nederland 1, commissariat d'exposition : Tiong Ang and Ranti Tjan, Rijksmuseum Gouda, Holland
Drawings, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
6 kunstenaars, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Reflectie, curated by Pietje Tegenbosch, Klooster Ter Apel, Holland

La Beaute de l'Enfer, Gallery Rodolphe Janssen and Sebastien Janssen, Brussels, Belgium
Boost In The Shell, curated by Jerome Jacobs and Michel Dewilde, De Bond, Bruges, Belgium
Unspeakable, Gallery Aeroplastics, Brussels, Belgium
After Nature, Gallery Aeroplastics, Brussels, Belgium
Sommergäste, Gallery Bugdahn und Kaimer, Dusseldorff, Germany
The Other Europe, on Art and Politically Incorrectness, curated by Paco Barragan, Galleri S E Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Malpractice, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Des Pudels Kern, curated by Otto Egberts, Galerie Phoebus, Rotterdam, Holland
Portretten, Underground bij van Sintfiet, Maastricht, Holland
Uitzicht met zandkorrel, curated by Kees Maas and Ella Van Zanten, LUMC Leiden, Holland
Concerning War. Soft Target. War as a Daily, First-Hand Reality, curated by Brigitte van der Sande and Maria Hlavajova, B.A.K. Utrecht, Holland

Heavy Duty, curated by Michiel Hogenboom, De Vishal, Haarlem, Holland
Art Rotterdam, galerie De Praktijk, Rotterdam, Holland
Jeanne Oosting Prijs, Museum De Wieger, Deurne, Holland
Het Offer, curated by Elly Stegeman, Collectie Swagemakers, De Beyerd, Breda, Holland

Le Baiser de la Guerre, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Imagine you are standing here in front of me, Caldic Collectie, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Holland
L'Hiver est Mort, Vive Le Printemps, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Opzij van het kijken, curated by Michel Dewilde and Jan Hoet, Watou Poeziezomer 2003, Watou, Belgium

Art Basel/Miami Beach, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Miami, USA
Commitment, curated by Edwin Janssen, Fonds voor Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst, Los Palmas, Rotterdam, Holland
Prijzenfestival, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Iets wat zoveel kost is alles waard, curated by Renee Steenbergen, De Beyerd, Breda, Holland
Nominatie Wolvecampprijs, Stadhuis Hengelo, Holland
De Grote Hoop, Nederlandse Kunst 1960-2001, curated by Fred Wagemans, Fries Museum Leeuwarden en Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Holland
Ontplooid, curated by Arno Kramer and Lisette Pelsers, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, Holland
River Deep, Mountain High, curated by Christine Sluysmans, Het Glazen Huis, Amstelpark, Amsterdam, Holland
Art Fair for War Child, curated by Annemarie Bleeker, Supperclub, Amsterdam, Holland

From the Low Countries, Reality and Art 1960-2001, curated by Fred Wagemans, Charlottenborg, Kopenhagen, Denmark
Black Dahlia, curated by Theo Tegelaers, De Overslag, Eindhoven, Holland
Blondies and Brownies, curated by Rafael von Uslar, Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich, Germany
Face Off, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Bruxelles, Belgium
Huid, curated by Ronald Russeler, Vleeshal, Haarlem, Holland
Het Munchhausen syndroom, curated by Ronald van Tienhoven, Outline, Amsterdam, Holland
Het Kwaad in Beeld, een tentoonstelling in het kader van dodenherdenking en bevrijdingsdag, curated by Wim van de Meer, Stadhuis Diemen, Holland

Painterly Issues, curated by Evaldas Stankevicius, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania,
Ieder zijn eigen Voetbal, curated by Wim van Sinderen, Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Holland
Het Paard van Troje, curated by Wim van Krimpen, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, Holland
Het Stadion. De Architectuur van de Massasport, curated by Matthijs Bouw and Michelle Provoost, NAI Rotterdam, Holland
Blondies and Brownies, curated by Rafael von Uslar, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland
Dutch Glory, curated by Christiaan Braun, Kabinet OverHolland in Het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Holland
Surrender, I wanna give you devotion, Nim hen es ist mein Geist und Sinn, curated by Rafael von Uslar, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
Small Stuff, commissariat d'exposition : Hans Theys, Herman Teirlinck Huis, Brussels, Belgium

Abraham, Galerie De Praktijk, Amsterdam, Holland
Prix NI, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague, Holland

Life is a Bitch (Nobuyoshi Araki, Richard Billingham, Tracey Emin, Elke Krystufek, Tracey Moffat, Ronald Ophuis), curated by Saskia Bos, De Appel, Amsterdam, Holland
Art Brussels, Galerie De Praktijk, Brussels, Belgium
10 jaar Charlotte Köhler-prijzen, Arti et Amicitae, Amsterdam, Holland
Engagement in de Kunst, curated by Sandra Smallenburg and Martijn Verhoeven, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, Holland
Cataract, curated by Theu Boermans, Stadsgalerij, Heerlen, Holland
Kunstaankopen 1996-1997, Gemeente Enschede, Markt 17, Enschede, Holland
Blind Date (i.s.m. Magnus Wallin), curated by Theo Tegelaers, World Wide Video Festival, W139, Amsterdam, Holland

Zwischen den Maschen, curated by Lex ter Braak, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria
Alleen in het Atelier, curated by Hans Ebeling Koning and Rieneke W. Harkema, Bergkerk, Deventer, Holland
Standje Franciscus, curated by Frans Franciscus, Flatland Galerie, Utrecht, Holland
Wat af is, is niet gemaakt, commissariat d'exposition : Mark Kremer, De Utrechtse School, Utrecht, Holland

Festival aan de Werf, curated by Mark Kremer, Utrecht, Holland
Wild Vlees, curated by Michiel Hogenboom and Frans Vendel, De Vishal, Haarlem, Holland

Wrong Sun, curated by Theo Tegelaers, W139, Amsterdam, Holland
Uitgelicht, curated by Leo Delfgaauw, Startstipendia 93/94, KunstRAI, Amsterdam, Holland

Het Oog van Sherlock Holmes, curated by Jans Muskee, Lakgalerie Leiden, Holland

Vent du Nord IX, curated by Koos Flinterman Institut Neerlandais, Paris, France
Oostenwind, curated by Arno Kramer, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, Holland
Bibliography (selection)

Witnessed Presence, Caroline Nevejan,, 2012
Interview Ronald Ophuis, Karolien Knols, De Volkskrant, 27-01-1012
Het kwaad in de ogen Kijken, Brigitte van der Sande, mr. Motley nr. 32, 2012

Interview Ronald Ophuis, Hilde van Canneyt,, 2011

Artist Text, Ronald Ophuis, Art Press, May 2010

Licht weerkaatsende, pokdalige obstakels, Hans Theys, Hart, January 2009
Geweld is een probaat middel, Stefan Kuiper, De Groene Amsterdammer, 04-03-2009
Ophuis toont een schrille werkelijkheid, Lucette ter Borg, NRC Handelsblad, 12-01-2009
Indringend of Afstotend, Lilian Bense, Metroplois M, January 2009

Painful Painting, Ernst van Alphen, catalogue Ronald Ophuis, 2008

Pijnlijke Schilderijen, Ernst van Alphen, de Witte Raaf, nummer 125, January 2007

Traagheid van de verbeelding, Henk Oosterling, Interakta 3, 2001

Burning one's hand on reality, Mark Kremer, Catalogue Ronald Ophuis, 2000

Five paintings on violence, Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Nieuwsbrief Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, December 1999