Artist Biography

Netherlands based artist, Ralf Kokke (born Rotterdam, Zuid,1989), creates work that emulates fragmented depictions and aspects of western culture that he is amused by. He was born into a practically closed-off social class of people, into a family of dockworkers that allowed little scope for self-reflection and exposure to cultural diversity, an experience that has no doubt influenced his artistic voice.

Kokke likes to capture contemporary fantasy-like creatures mixed with classical compositions. With a mixture of happiness and a certain sadness he creates an imaginative world of care-free moments the viewer might like to go to.

The artist portrays his figures in a contorted and raw fashion. Evident in this are the years of manual labour incurred throughout the generations of his tribe, culminating in work, a physical and psychological manifestation. Kokke then, is inspired by and drawn to painters such as Co Westerik, Frits Van Den Berghe, Constant Permeke and Max Beckmann, who also depict characters imprisoned by a system from which they are unable to escape.

Manuela Klerkx says of his work, “Ralf holds up a mirror of a world that is anything but beautiful, in which the fairy tale of the fight between David and Goliath is far from over, and neither are the struggles of the working class with regard to big capital or those of scientists with regard to climate sceptics or the lgbtq community with regard to traditional faith. The physical and psychological signs of oppression, the cartoon-like figures with their peculiar shapes do not show the proud worker, but rather the disillusioned human being who derives his right to exist solely from the lower class to which he belongs: that of the workhorses.”

Kokke’s awards grants and exhibition list is vast, particularly in his home country and Europe. Recent highlights include, in 2020 being awarded the Dordrechts Museum Gameente Dordrechts grant, and exhibiting in the Galerie Droste in Paris. Savvy collectors will adjoin his recognised accomplishments with Kokke’s idiosyncratic, contemporary style and see that this artist is one to watch.

Exhibitions

2021 “Between A Rock And A Hard Place” Hans Alf Gallery, Copenhagen, DENMARK
2021 “Cave Canem” Eve Leibe Gallery, London, UK
2021 “Young Dreams” Aout Gallery, Beirut, LEBANON
2021 “Formation” Greenhouse Projects, New York, USA
2020 “Watchlist” Galerie Droste, Paris, FRANCE
2020 “OUTBREAK” De Pont Museum, Tilburg, NETHERLANDS
2020 “Wunderwall” Plus-One Gallery & Gallery Sofie Van De Velde, Antwerp, BELGIUM
2020 “To Paint Is To Love Again” Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2020 “Concepts and Prospects” Art Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
2019 “Late Night Pasta” Allard Wildenberg Projects, Naarden, NETHERLANDS
2019 “Universes Show 2” The Garage Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
2019 “Cowboys and Aliens” Kunstpodium T, Tilburg, NETHERLANDS
2019 “My Biggest Small” Showhouse Jayjay, Antwerp, BELGIUM
2019 “Nacht” Pictura/Dordrecht, South Holland, NETHERLANDS
2019 “Velvet Ropes” GIFC, Antwerp, BELGIUM
2018 “Consequences” Kaus Australis, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
2018 “Screw Your Courage To The Sticky Place” Showhouse Jayjay, Antwerp, BELGIUM
2018 “Vruchtbare Grond” Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam, NETHERLANDS
2018 “Wilde Haren” Galerie De Meerse, Hoofddorp, NETHERLANDS
2018 “Waited For The Fish Corner” Galerie Hommes, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 “Throwing hands at Sheep” Pictura/Dordrecht, South Holland, NETHERLANDS
2017 “Art For Animal Sake”, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 “Ways of Seeing” Gallery Josilda Da Conceicao, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 This Art Fair, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 Art the Hague, Galerie Hommes, Rottherdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair, Galerie Hommes, Rottherdam, NETHERLANDS
2017 “Wallpaper “ Showroom Mama/Art Baby, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
2016 “Zevendendzes” Does Interieurs, Laren, NETHERLANDS
2016 “Small Affairs” Galerie Hommes, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS
2016 “Vertellers” Pouloeuff, Naarden, NETHERLANDS

Collections

2020 Dordrecht Museum, NETHERLANDS
2020 Van Gogh Huis, Zundert, NETHERLANDS
2019 Dordrecht Museum, NETHERLANDS

Residencies

2020 Vincent Van Gogh-Huis, Zundert, NETHERLANDS
2019 Torenkamertje, NPO/OPIUM, Wageningen, NETHERLANDS
2018 Kaus Australis, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS

Awards / Grant

2019 Pictura Price, Cultuur + Ondernemen Mentortraject
2018 Mondriaan Fund, Young Talent Grant
2018 Dordrechts Museum, Gemeente Dordrecht Grant
2017 LAM (Lisser Art Museum), This Art Fair 2017
2017 Kunstschouw Award

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