• Portrait of Ralf Kokke

Ralf Kokke (b. 1989, Rotterdam) is a Dutch painter.

Kokke was born to a family of dockworkers in Rotterdam Zuid. An almost separate class of people — within a practically closed-off social circuit — trapped between a 40-hour working week and a forced position of humility that leaves little or no room for individual contemplation, reflection or diversity.

The figures in Ralf Kokke's paintings are always bent and rugged. You can tell how years of hard manual work has itself manifested physically and psychologically. In this respect, he feels connected to painters such as Co Westerik, Frits Van Den Berghe, Constant Permeke and Max Beckmann. Kokke's paintings often depict figures who are stuck in a specific structure from which they want to escape but fail to. From the beginning to the very end of their lives, they are uable to escape the yoke of social pressure.

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