There is energy all around us. Powers that want to shape themselves, want to manifest themselves. The manifestation of these forces leads to fields of tension in which one force wants to attract, repel, neutralize, increase or decrease the other force. Force fields are not always easy to perceive for us, but the consequences and influences are great. So great that the tension or energy between two forces can determine their ultimate shape and their environment. Tension fields thus determine the shape of the world around us.
This line of thought leads to fundamental questions about our environment and about the functioning of the individual in this environment. Why is our environment as it appears? Why are things the way they are? Are things as they appear to be? What is the influence of an environment on an individual?

My work is primarily about painting, but the focus is on this kind of tension or energy. The tension or energy that is present between two forces. The tension between a positive and negative force, the tension between opposites. At the same time, the apparent emptiness between these two extremes is central.
There is a longing for neutrality or balance in my work. A desire for a neutral environment or space in which forces or elements can shape themselves to their true essence. As a result, the work for me not only has a minimalist formalistic charge, but also has a strong emotional charge.
From this desire for balance and neutrality has arisen a desire for technical purity and simplicity. I find this in a minimalist, partly formalistic, geometrically abstract way of working. No noise from anecdote or ornament, but formal reduction. Careful compositions and clear technique with room for concentration and delicacy. Through this minimalist way of working I try to manoeuvre myself into the background to make as much space as possible for the image and for the viewer. This creates an open autonomous image with its own visual, monumental position.

I find inspiration in the society around me. In particular, the influences of social movements and political-economic systems on our environment and on the individual are an important source. How does the individual relate to these forces? What are these forces, where do they come from, how do they manifest themselves and what is their effect? Does neutrality exist in this context? Are these forces positive or negative?
Sometimes these forces or sides find each other in my work and the tension is lifted. Then a balanced emptiness or space arises. Sometimes these forces keep pushing and pulling and an uncomfortable tension remains. ❞

— Ruud de Kort, 2020.


Ruud de Kort (Netherlands, 1972) works in Amsterdam and trained at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, the academy of visual arts in Maastricht and Konstfack in Stockholm. In addition to paintings and works on paper, installations and murals are part of the oeuvre. Ruud de Kort’s work has been shown internationally with exhibitions in the Netherlands, England and Sweden.

Ruud de Kort in his studio