With a career spanning more than three decades, Robbie Cornelissen has established himself among the leading contemporary draughtsmen in Europe. His vast and irresolute creative universe demonstrates the complexity of a world dealing with new spatial concepts.
Every corner of the planet may have been explored, but digital technologies have opened up an endless universe to discover, a virtual labyrinth without an exit in which one can easily get lost. His drawings often serve vertiginous perspectives out of which emerge distressing voids that refer more to metaphorical states of mind than physical spaces. Cornelissen’s works offer an exploration of these fields and are therefore often viewed as places of anxiety. They could easily be interpreted as portraits of a technophobic mind, alarmed by the speeds and heights of our advanced neoliberal societies. But for some, the volatility of these spaces is also incredibly exciting – liberating even. Cornelissen represents a world in which things are freed from the pragmatism of their usage to exist simply for the interest of their geometry. This is particularly true of architecture, the prime subject of his artistic research.
In many ways, Cornelissen’s technique is very classical. His expertise of linear perspective takes root in the heritage of Quattrocento Masters of the likes of Pietro Perugino, Filippo Brunelleschi or Paolo Uccello. In fact, Uccelo’s Perspective Study of Massocchio is referenced in Cornelissen’s Inner Circle (2016). This affiliation to the Italian Renaissance is deliberately present in other pieces as well, in The Miracle (San Zaccaria) for example. What sets Robbie Cornelissen apart from this historical tradition is the possibility to crop and paste objects and references from any geographical or historical context and reconfigure them within a new framework. And with these juxtapositions, the viewer is drawn into new territories where endless meanings emerge.