Machteld Rullens (1988) lives and works in The Hague. Rullens works with sculptural elements that have a strong link with painting but are rarely applied with a brush. She uses everything that’s available and that reflects her basic mood. That mood is a reflection of the time and of the world that, in spite of all its beauty, is overstimulated and possible even bored. Her wall objects, made from found cardboard boxes and epoxy resin, are full of emptiness. Rullens started painting on cardboard boxes when she ordered art supplies for the studio and noticed that the boxes could be tackled in a far more aggressive and impulsive way than for example a blanc canvas. She shapes and rearranges the cardboard boxes, something that was once fragile into something sturdy, relating to elements of play, composition, and architecture.   

Machteld Rullens studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam. Her work has been shown in several solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions, such as ‘A room of one’s own’ and ‘The latest’ at Galerie Rianne Groen, Rotterdam; ‘Mobile Homes’, Künstlerhaus Otto 1, Eckernförde; Prospects & Concepts, Art Rotterdam; Billytown, The Hague. In 2019 Rullens received the Royal Award for Modern Painting. Next year she will be a resident at Thread in Senegal awarded by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Her work is represented by Martin van Zomeren in Amsterdam and Sorry we're closed in Brussels.

'Ik was in de gelegenheid , de activiteiten van Machteld Rullens  over een langere periode te volgen .
Ben steeds verrast over haar beweeglijkheid. Ook wat betreft het onderzoek naar beeldmiddelen, wordt zij niet gehinderd door wat anderen van haar verwachten.' - Auke de Vries

‘Naast die naar ironie neigende zelfreflectie is er vooral het ongedwongen plezier dat de werken uitstralen (tegen de melancholie in), een onbekommerdheid die je in de hedendaagse kunst zelden meer ziet en die misschien daarom juist belangrijk is om uit te dragen. Schilderkunst is daar ook uitermate geschikt voor, meer dan fotografie of een ander medium belichaamt het die onbekommerdheid ook zelf, in haar hele zijn (schilderkunst ís het, of beter, kan het zijn, terwijl ander werk enkel de representatie ervan is, op z’n best). Rullens laat zien dat het pure maakplezier niet iets is om te vergeten tussen al het getob in hedendaagse tentoonstellingen door. De kunst zelf als laatste redmiddel, tegen de leegte. Je kunt het ook experimenteerdrift pur sang noemen, met een vleugje kunsthistorische accuratesse. Rullens kent haar pappenheimers, ze is niet naïef. ook dat maakt het goed.’ — Domeniek Ruyters


‘Beside this almost ironic self reflection, there is above all, an uninhibited joy which the works emanate ( against all gloominess), a carefreeness one seldom sees in contemporary art and which therefore is important to be propagated. The art of painting is uncommonly suited for this, more so than any other forms of visual arts. Painting fully embodies this carefreeness. Rullens demonstrates that the joy of making something shouldn’t be forgotten amidst all drudgery at contemporary exhibitions. Art itself as a last resort against an inner void. One might call it a drive for experiment pur sang with a touch of art historical accuracy. Rullens knows the ropes, she is not ingenuous, all of this makes the work very good.’ — Domeniek Ruyters

'With equal parts attention to form, color, and economy—big or small—Machteld makes it look easy. This is what synergy looks like! Familiar, relatable, and original—usually not common bedfellows. Machteld’s latest body of work blurs the boundaries of dimensional form and Greenbergian flatness, collapsing and folding cardboard configurations into painterly wall works. Stacked, riveted, and coated with pigmented resin, these objects are sometimes reminiscent of the leaky hull of a tanker or cobbled-together like an improvised repair job. In this series, there is a slow shift away from manicured rectilinear order into scrap yard abstraction. The synthetic luster transcends the familiar cardboard material into unearthly perfected forms. Ranging from playful spontaneity to methodical engineering, Machteld maintains a relatability while pushing limits, always thinking outside the box.'—Lucas Page and Patrick Keville, September 2023


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