Dino Ruissen






















Dino Ruissen’s work takes place in the dark, his pictures being like shadow images or projections, which presuppose dark surroundings. The pictures often show shadow  images of hands on a screen, resembling a duck, a hare or a dog’s head through certain positions of the fingers. This is easily associated with children in a living room where holiday slides or home movies are shown, creating images of all kinds of animals. No cheerful, relaxed atmosphere is to be found here, though.
Analogous to the dark surroundings in which they are created, the pictures are loaded with gloom. The multiplicity of fingers and hands thicken into a threatening skeleton of a tree full of animals or a nocturnal jungle full of fearful phantoms. Seeing this reminds me of the French expression for twilight: ‘entre chien et loup’ (between dog and wolf), which acknowledges the existence of a world lying between the familiar order ‘tamed’ by reason, and ‘wild’, chaotic images in one’s fantasy.
Essential to shadow images is the sharp contrast between figure and background, analogous to the contrast between shadow and light. Iån Dino Ruissen’s work, this dividing line is outshone or blurred. It is a means of creating space, but here it also works as an energy zone, an aura, as the subjects depicted often pertain to the supernatural: hand lines as read by fortune-tellers, with titles such as Crystal Ball or Crystal Gazing. In recent works the images reflect an uncertain and fearful perception: a spider’s web, a magician’s card or suggestive hand gestures in front of a magic lantern. What is depicted has the character of a hallucination.
The trompe-l’oeil technique of fine painters is often used to represent the themes and atmosphere of the surreal. Dino Ruissen, however, opts for the opposite approach: that of an unconcealed use of materials. This is reflected, for instance, in the use of strips and snippets of reflecting silver foil that introduce real light into the picture. Neither is the presence of paint disguised anywhere: brush strokes can be followed as a direct representation of the act of painting. This conspicuous presence of the material is totally at odds with a figurative approach.
Still, linking the appearance of (sometimes distorted) images to the historic condition of painting as a means of creating illusions makes this connection a credible one. While the arrival of photography has caused essential changes in painting and it seems the two mutually exclude each other nowadays, they do share a common base. This common base is found in the connection between the precursors of photographers, the 19th-century silhouette drawers and cutters on the one hand, and prehistoric cave painters and children creating images of animals in front of a projector on the other. It is these elementary references that I find in Dino Ruissen’s paintings, showing with his equally rudimentary use of materials that illusions occur in the mind, not on the retina.
From :AROUND THE LAKE  essay by Bert  Jansen  ISBN 90-803822-8-0