Ralf Kempkenʼs art practice explores the way childhood experiences shape character, outlook and world views in an individual.
Using transparent screens to represent the idea of a psychological filter; Kempken juxtaposes slices of images to act as a prism through which we project emotionally tainted views of the world. It is a simple reminder that we filter our perceptions through past experiences and memories at both an individual and collective level. Our emotional and physical environments are perceived through screens and projections of our own making. Over time memories and experiences warp and shift reality and in turn colour our vision of the world.
Kempken’s suite of images entitled Past Futures, has drawn on historical photographs, more specifically, group portraits of children taken in Carlton in the early part of the 20th century. Using only black and white on mostly transparent screens, contemporary images are sliced into these historical photographs and new images are created. The figures of children past and present collide, side by side these children have been; and will be, our future.
Ralf Kempken completed a Diploma of Visual Art at RMIT in 2004 and has been exhibiting continually since then. Winner of the Australian Stencil Art Prize for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013, his work has also been acquired by the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery for their permanent collection as part of the National Works on Paper Award. Other permanent public works can be seen within the built structure of the new West Footscray Railway Station and the entire south wall of the Dimmeys development in Richmond.
Ralf Kempken Looking Forward (from the series Past Futures) 2017