Conference “Hybridizations” at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Milan, curated by Eleonora Fiorani

“Kiss Me, Stupid!”

cm. 40x82x10; Milano, 1997

“Trip in the USA”

cm. 46x90x12; Milano, 1997

“Comunion mobile”

cm. 42x44x42; Milano, 1998

“Jesus online”

cm. 32x55x9; Milano, 1998


MiArt, Milan Art Fair, in the “Babel” section, by Philippe Daverio, with 2 Totem opening the exhibition: “Alice in Wonderland” and “Time Machine”

“Alice in Wonderland”

cm. 44x60x46; Milano, 1997

“Time Machine”

cm. 29x56x29; Milano, 1997

Kitsch, the Shocking Lies of Contemporary Art 

When disgust becomes a style – or rather, a “non-style” – nonconformist,
taste for the excess of provocation, emptied of its original sign content. Damien Hirst’s “kitsch patinated” and comrades, emblem of the media’s reproducibility of the banal. The example of Rudy van der Velde, who assembles objects
of the everyday, understood as the fetish of communication, fashion and costume.Among the artists of the 80s and 90s, representing the contemporary aesthetics of kitsch we remember, in addition to Hirst, Jeff Koos, Luigi Ontani, Maurizio Catelan, Enrica Borghi, Martin Kippenberger, Rosemarie Trockel, Johon Bock, Sarah Lucas, Chappman Brothers, Marc Dion, Katharina Fritsch, and many other fetish-subject decontextualized. They exalt the object as “Empire of the Senses” by Chinese and Japanese artists who seem to have discovered their extraordinary power to generate totems of communication and to compare two universes: product and art.


We remind you of Rudy van der Velde (1948), journalist, art director and freelance consultant for publishing and advertising of the publishing industry, who since the 1990’s assembles everyday objects such as communication, fashion, costumes, theater teens -mass media, which combine religion into an original formula
and consumerism. His chaotic assemblages represent the simulacrum of the materialistic “new spirituality”, conquered by our capitalist system. Van der Velde surprises for the obsessive will to ritual the objects, produced by the industrial reality, discovers and collects stuff of the inculturation of contemporary disgust that, assembled in ironic combinations, smite values and meanings, simulating others. Van der Velde – of Dutch origin – is interested in the universe of everyday things, their symbolic logics, contemporary “amulets,” which contain the history of the time they belong to.

Every civilization has the objects it deserves. Paradoxical colorful combinations, defined “New Kitsch,” is revealed through the artist’s words: “I’m trying to keep somehow things that are born and die with supersonic speed. I also try to reveal the humble testimonies of our time, merging them into something else, perhaps a message. ” His work goes beyond objectivity, through which he reformulated Flemish culture, attention to popular reality, revisited with playful intent in the context of contemporary media communication. This mix of objects represent contemporary “vanitas on the meaning of things”, semiotic bombs that reflect on the constant variation of the sign and possible combinatorial associations. His collage of emptiness, embellished with glittering and sequined, pop colors, cast a profane representation of the ex-vote of the popular inculturation, mystify the cult of the event and the present show. And then here are his “imaginary circuses”, where sacred and profane, nature and artifice, man and animal blend into an orgiastic tension in communication of other senses.



Review by Jaqueline Ceresoli for Style Art.

Jacqueline Ceresoli

Historical and critical of art. Professor of fashion and costume history at Brera Academy, holds industrial archeology courses at the European Design Institute in Milan.

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According to you, what is an artist today?  I think that as God (at least that god), the Artist (at least that artist) is dead; I think the artist today is more or less a manipulator of communication: alternate, critical and desecrating.

That strives to live and feel differently that homogeneous homemade soup that plunges us into trying to stay as far away from fake markets and fake merchants. But keeping an enchanted look and a disillusioned spirit on the things that are born, live and die faster and faster around our ancient soul, more and more frustrated.

How do your “New Kitsch” creatures arise?   I love to sit down the canal where today everything is flowing. The immense regurgitation of things and objects uncontrollably blown away from more or less distant markets: Corea, China, Indonesia, but also North Africa, Eastern Europe. Futile stuff that is born and dies within a few months: giraffe and dinosaurs, gondolas, beads, santines, robots, etc. I look at the speed and variety. Every once in a while I jump in a hand, pull up, set aside. One day, who knows, that dung will make me want to build something … different. It is always a joy to see that thing bringing together hundreds of newly-born-old-born objects into a new One.

You’re little known in “official” circuits. Is that a choice?  Yes, it’s my own choice; a choice of freedom. I want to be able to move in all freedom and lightness. In fact, I define myself a craftsman who is having fun, finding manipulation the cheerfulness of doing, and the product that gives birth to the freedom to express myself, a truly revolutionary act nowadays. Moreover, compared to conventional circuits, I am very confident in current technologies to “communicate” in order to be able to freely display everything I want without having to account for the old art dealers.

From: Mood, nr.20/2001


Interview titled “Every Civilization Has the Objects That Deserve” for Mood Magazine.


Collective exhibition at the Fondazione Mudima entitled “Detti e Visioni dell’Oggi”.

“Me and my Time Machine” installation.

Installation of a series of New Kitsch works, produced over five years and assembled together.

“Rudy, The Baby”

Original photo of Rudy van der Velde at 5/6 years, white / black, hand-colored. It has been widely used since 2001 in all its exhibitions, in addition to its New Kitsch works. On the back of most of them, the Jannelli&Volpi “On Demand Wallpaper”, reproducing hundreds of small Rudy’s at pattern.



“Angel of War”

cm. 28x28x18; Milano, 2001

“Light Me Up, Madonna”

cm. 24x44x24; Milano 1999


cm. 60x44x40; Milano, 1999

The rooms of the wonders by Rudy van der Velde: Life and Dream

Bonito Oliva wrote: “The artist is the founder of a magical territoryinhabited by an unprecedented opulence of an objectified language in a flashy form “, concerning nomadism and stylistic eclecticism of the trans-avant-garde. And it feels good to me, his opinion of invention and the way to work as a bricoleur by Rudy van der Velde, art director in life, artist always in the soul, in a sort of second life, only occasionally made public, but persisted with tenacity, surrealist experiments, provos time, the present stage of manipulation of objects.


Rudy van der Velde staged a surreal world of icon-fetishes, proceeding
for unpredictable combinations, for proliferation or hybridization of elements of the mass media that emphasize the illogical and chaotic coexistence of objects, forming plots
of meaning. Thus, while it seems immersed in its own imaginary, it outlines unexpected sequences of objects: toys, religious icons, souvenirs, feathers, plants, flowers, boxes, calamai, shells ….

His “Me and my TimeMachine” installation brings together a new work
of a five-year period (1997-2002). Looking at his totem, what attracts our attention
is the metamorphosis of the artist himself in the child whose image is reproduced and multiplied infinitely: a child himself and one himself for otherness, present and absent, lost and remembered, acting below the threshold of consciousness.

That is why I find it inadequate to describe its operation the references that
we could summon the manipulation of objects and images of daily media and mass media: from pop art to Oldenburg, to kitsch, to trash, to the same Dutch painting.
I am rather interested in the playful and surreal dimension in his work: it is a vein of “madness” that gives birth to a wild freedom, which frees the image from the tight intellects of the intellect and reason; plays with the objects, producing limitations and disparaging orders.

(“Text and Visions of Today” – Mudima Foundation, Milan May 22, 2002)


Review by Eleonora Fiorani

Epistemologist and essayist, she investigated the objects, materials, territorialities, imagery of postmodern societies. She teaches anthropology at the Politecnico di Milano and semiotics at the European Institute of Design and the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan.


Tv broadcast by Rai3 Italia, in the “Passepartout” program by art critic and historian Philippe Daverio.

In the same year, the book “Amazing Art”, G.Mazzotta Editions, always by Philippe Daverio