Kris Van Assche Of Dior Homme’s People To Meet: Gallerist Tim Van Laere
Two of Van Assche’s favourite contemporary artists are Ben Sledsens and Rinus van de Velde. Both are represented by the Antwerp-based gallerist Tim Van Laere and both adorn the walls of his elegant Parisian abode by the Arc de Triomphe. And for SS16, Van Assche chose van de Velde as the face of his Dior Homme campaign. “Both Rinus and Ben have a very distinguished style and represent a unique language and vision within the art world,” Van Laere explains. “They are both extremely hard workers, and I think this is something Kris can relate to. He shows the same qualities in his fashion design. I think this is one of the reasons why he connects with their works and collects them in depth.”
“What I like about Rinus and Ben is that they get their hands dirty,” says Van Assche. “Many artists today have these studios and they make a little sketch on a computer and then it becomes something, while [Rinus and Ben] have the real artisanal approach, which I like. When you make a painting it’s nice if you actually paint it yourself.”
An installation artist, van de Velde makes drawings, sculptures and ceramics and builds large-scale installations, while Sledsens observes an old-fashioned painterly tradition. Aesthetically, both artists echo in Van Assche a precise sense of the graphic – big brushstrokes and clean lines, if you will. “Tim happens to have two artists who I very much love and follow and like, and who are actually alive, which is nice for a change,” Van Assche says.
Van Laere grew up in Antwerp, studied at Rollins College, Florida, and lived in Miami before moving back at 27 and opening Tim Van Laere Gallery in 1997. “I would describe myself as a gallerist who works with and especially for the artists. We are an artist gallery. Our primary concern lies with the interests of the artists,” he explains.
Next to organising exhibitions for his artists and travelling round the world’s art fairs, Van Laere meets with the artists on a daily basis, “to talk intensively about their work and practice, strategies, exhibition possibilities, and so on”. And as a child of Antwerp – the city that created some of fashion’s most interesting designers – Van Laere is hardly surprised by Van Assche’s custom. “I think it’s very important as a gallerist to be aware of what is current in fashion, cinema, literature and music, and to relate it to contemporary young artists. Specifically for the fashion industry, I find it remarkable how fashion designers rise to the occasion every season with new designs. They work under very high pressure, where they have to keep producing quality,” he says. “I really admire this in Kris.”
Text by Anders Christian Madsen
Photographer Ian Kenneth Bird
Taken from the latest issue of 10 Men, REBEL HEART, on newsstands now…