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Rob Scholte

Rob Scholte (1958) is one of Holland’s most famous contemporary artists. His style can be described as post-modern. He studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. As a member of the W139 artists’ collective, together with Sandra Derks, he made his debut in 1982 with the masterpiece Rom 87, a freestyle series of variations on a book of children’s colouring pictures sold by HEMA. In the 1980s and 1990s his controversial art, provocative statements and his exuberant lifestyle contributed to his growing fame. In terms of their form, his conceptual paintings are aligned with pop art and surrealism. In 1987 his work was exhibited at the documenta exhibition in Kassel and in 1990 the Dutch pavilion he created for the Venice Biennial attracted great international acclaim.

One of his largest and most famous works, Après nous le dèluge, completed in 1991, decorates the walls and ceiling of the replica of Huis ten Bosch in Nagasaki, Japan. He spent 4 years working on the painting, which covers an area of 1200 square metres, and a mosaic floor together with a large team of assistants. The painting contains both 17th-century and modern elements and depicts the constant alternation of war and peace throughout history.

Rob Scholte believes originality no longer exists. Hence reproduction is an important aspect of his art because it ensures that a work of art can reach the largest possible audience. This leads him to wonder whether the most reproduced works of art are the most important. He copies images in the media, advertising and picture books in a precise realistic style (as if his paintings are already reproductions). Rather than simply being provocative, he is more interested in sparking insight. He dismisses copyright principles on this basis. As the Dutch Andy Warhol he flirts with a combination of depth and superficiality, which he claims to admire in advertising in particular. After living on the Canary island of Tenerife for several years, he returned to the Netherlands in 2003 and set up the Rob Scholte Museum in Den Helder, where he exhibits both his own work and work produced by other artists.
The title of his Miffy statue is Grijs [Grey]. ‘I definitely don’t see the world as black and white. Light doesn’t need darkness.’