Painful Painting

Catherine von Campen, 55 min, Netherlands.

In the documentary Painful Painting, director Catherine van Campen sheds light on the extraordinary working method of painter Ronald Ophuis and the tense relationship between art and reality in his work. In the film, the artist portrays the intensely violent games that child soldiers in Sierra Leone played with female prisoners during the recent civil war. After a trip to Africa, he uses actors to re-stage a number of these extreme scenes in his studio to then paint them on a large canvas.

Given his subject matter, Ronald Ophuis has a special place in Dutch painting. His paintings with extreme human suffering provocatively examine our tense relationship with violence. Unafraid of self-analysis, Ophuis appears to be convinced that there is violence in all of us...