ARTIST Riaan van Zyl

I am more an alchemist than an artist! I play with ancient materials and incorporate things like old car oil, salts and athracite in my paintings.

Riaan van Zyl, born in 1976, continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art, classical techniques and concepts.
After studying Contemporary Fine Arts at UNISA, van Zyl finished his Bachelors degree in 2000 and immediately started his professional art career. He since curated many group exhibitions and exhibited at various galleries around the world.

“They become almost a performance of movement rather than a standard drawing” Riaan says.
Through his unique technique of hurling and pouring car oil and combining this with a mix of paint and charcoal, van Zyl manages to effectively slow time and to capture movement.

Exploring and deepening his own impressions and understanding, Riaan van Zyl searches for and takes inspiration from ordinary things around him. He deconstructs commonplace ideas and he loves re-imagining it with experimental media – old oil, anthracite, cobalt salts.

Riaan dissects movement and reconstructs the context and value with patient eyes and a hungry mind. He is diacritical. At first glance, his work looks abstract and confusing, but the results have their own very personal syntax, punctuation and orchestration. His artworks become almost a performance of movement rather than standard drawings.

Take a look at his work and allow your eyes to be captured by the motion. Imagine you are watching a movie in slow motion.
The outcome has its own, very personal structure, punctuating movement through composition. Riaan tirelessly experimented to define his unique and expressive style.

View artworks of Riaan van Zyl on ARTSY.

He plays with the concept of interactivity through expressive cooperation and its moving parts. He is testing a new way to traverse and step beyond the contemporary frontiers, options that are offered by unique media.
Riaan exhibits internationally and locally. His works feature in prestigious art collections around the world.