The 2011 Prix Canson® winner : Ronald Cornelissen
Since 1988, Ronald Cornelissen has been producing drawings, sculptures and installations which highlight the individual's relationship with his/her immediate surroundings and the resulting frictions. He speaks of his favourite theme in a few words: "The city, with its architecture that can sometimes be intimidating and impersonal, as well as the increasing invasion of our private space, is a major theme in my work".
Visit Ronald Cornelissen' s gallery
Ronald Cornelissen as seen by Gérard Garouste
« I’m always very touched when I see an artist today using materials as simple as paper and pencil, just like a child in nursery school. Nowadays, we are so used to seeing one-upmanship in the use of original processes that the simple fact of using ink and watercolours seems like a true challenge. Ronald Cornelissen is one of those artists who plays with simple elements to draft a personal subject, with perspectives and figurative motifs. He sets up improbable scenes that induce a feeling of unease. The vanishing points lead us to something vague, to a story where everything slips away just when we try to grasp its meaning.
For me, the point of this prize is not to nominate the best of the artists presented, but rather to acknowledge an artist with a promising future. »
With the 2011 Prix Canson® , the artist has received an endowment of Canson® papers and has been the focus of media coverage the day after the ceremony. He has been also be able to take part in two great contemporary art shows : Slick Paris 2011 & Slick Brussels 2012.
Slick Brussels 2012, Ronald Cornelissen
Ronald Cornelissen Interview
- What has been your career path as an artist to-date?
"Immediately after completing my studies in 1988 at the St. Joost Academy in Breda, I moved to Rotterdam. I graduated in painting and sculpture, but soon drawing and 3-dimensional work began more and more to take precedence over painting. I was into music first and only later discovered the visual arts. Pop music shaped my aesthetic. Through the music, I discovered Burroughs, started reading more, got hooked on fanzines and underground comics—it was in those circles that I got to know visual artists. You can still find traces of the media promoted by international pop culture, such as collage, comics, cartoons, fanzines, installations, noise and psychedelica in my drawings and installations. It was because of this interest that I initiated in 1998 “I Rip You, You Rip Me” with the Rotterdam-based artist Ben Schot. This was an inter-disciplinary project around the band Destroy All Monsters, formed by American artists Mike Kelley, Cary Loren and Jim Shaw."
In the light of this project, the context in which my work should be viewed became clearer to a lot of people and it started getting more and more attention. Drawing has always played a major role in my work, including the creation phase of my installations. It was also my love of drawing that inspired me to publish the first edition of “Wormhole”, a magazine that focused on drawing, in February 2000. Thanks to the contacts I made through “Wormhole” I exhibited in Milan (2007), Detroit (2001 and 2008) and Miami (2008). My first exhibition in Paris was in 2006, as part of a group show at the Bernard Jordan gallery, and the gallery has been representing me since 2008. In the Netherlands, I had never worked with any specific gallery, so to a large extent I shaped my own career through initiatives such as “Wormhole” and “I Rip You, You Rip Me”.
- Why do you choose the relationship between the individual and the urban environment, and the problems this relationship entails, as a central theme in your work?
"It’s in the urban environment, with all its contradictions, stimuli and overwhelming choices, that tensions are the strongest."
- What is your biggest source of inspiration?
"The here and now. To me it’s the most obvious source of inspiration."
- What is your own vision of your drawings?
"I see my drawings as a reflection of what I see around me. Not just registrations though—criticism and humour are also essential elements in my work."
- What materials and techniques do you use?
"I mostly use ink, pencil, sepia and watercolour. Very occasionally, I use gouache. I also use photos which I have taken myself or copied and which I place in my drawings and then rework."
- What does the Canson brand mean to you?
"I work primarily on Canson® paper; for my large drawings, I use Canson paper on a roll. I prefer the heaviest weight, it’s really smooth, the smoothest I’ve been able to find on a roll—and the smoother my paper is, the happier I am. It’s good material, and good material is important."
- Is winning an award important to you?
"Let’s start off by saying that it’s wonderful to win an award. The importance of it, depends on the spin-off after having won the prize. It’s often money, which is very useful of course, but in the case of the Prix Canson it also presents a great opportunity to show my work. It comes at a very good time for me."
Interview by Marlise van der Jagt.
Look at the booklet of Ronald Cornelissen