Robbert Fortgens (1960) was born in Utrecht and studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Fortgens lives and works in Antwerp and exhibited in several European countries as well as in the United States. In his early work, Fortgens is strongly attracted to photographically realistic fine painting. His particular interest goes to the work of Israeli artist Meir Salomon (1947) who teaches him in this technique. His artistic development takes a turn when he sees the work of Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning (1904-1997). Being inspired by de Kooning, his work turns to more abstract – expressionistic compositions.
Besides painting, Fortgens has a passion for photography. On one side of the spectrum, the photographic realism with its strong emphasis on the exact reproduction of the image motifs, and on the other hand, the abstract expressionism. It results in Fortgens in a dialectical process; the confrontation of the extremes that are facing each other stand and eventually to fusion to take a new position, a phenomenon that has to do with the world of the visual arts often.
Robbert Fortgens comes to a merger of the two extremes. The artist connects photography and painting together by assembling them in a single work together. One hand, arise series in which the photographic element clearly has the upper hand, such as views of a metropolis from an explicit perspective, or portraits of whether posed models. On the other hand, he creates duo presentations, which he photographed and painted canvas placed alongside each other, as the two arms of a diptych. The picture is edited with paint or with different layers of a synthetic epoxy that there is a layering of the image, so the sharp boundaries of the two parts slightly blurred.
Painting and photography go so in a sense intertwined, but remain at the same time as two peculiarities stand side by side: the photographed images and the painted compositions seem to answer or question each other.