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Tjebbe Beekman’s complex paintings do not reveal their meaning at once; they contain familiar elements that prompt the viewer to further examine and develop a stream of thought about topical issues in our culture and society. Beekman’s loaded canvases are abstract, realistic, and expressive at the same time, bleeding over the edges and disorienting any sense of space or depth. 
The artist uses imagery derived from various sources which he translates into paint, sand, plaster and other materials, layered onto the canvas with a brush, palette knife or his fingers, to later be scraped away or built up into relief. The robust and material structure of Beekman’s paintings underlines the layered meaning of his work.

Between 2003 and 2013, Beekman lived in Berlin and created a series of paintings titled The Capsular Society (De Capsulaire Beschaving), a term derived from the Belgian philosopher Lieven de Cauter (1959). This is a reflection on Western man, moving between offices, shopping malls, airports and train stations, living in bubbles that don’t really connect or relate to each other, causing the already lonely human to retreat even further into enclosed spaces - our own ‘safety capsules’. Beekman painted panoramic scenes of stock exchanges, supermarkets and other architectural spaces, without depicting people. 

Beekman’s most recent series titled Symbiosis is about the painters who have inspired him most: influences ranging from Jasper Johns to Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso to Max Ernst. He incorporates elements of these artists’ oeuvres into his own new bold and colorful paintings, overflowing with both material and visual content. While previous works dealt with themes of a dystopian society depicted through fragmented architectonical structures, this new body of work is part of an ongoing series depicting whole and complete environments celebrating the act of painting by and in itself. 

Today, Western society and culture sit in a difficult and unpredictable place, with politics that seem unable to formulate adequate answers to economical, geopolitical, and ecological problems. Beekman feels the urgency to emphasise these ideas now, seeking an antidote to today’s conservative and radical tendencies that threaten treasured cultural achievements.

Tjebbe Beekman (b. 1972 in Leiden, NL) attended the KABK: Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (NL) from 1993 to 1997, followed by the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (NL) from 2003 to 2004. Awards and nominations include the Theo Wolvecamp Prize (NL), Buning Brongers Prize (NL), and the Royal Painting Prize (NL). Beekman’s recent exhibitions include Amsterdam: Collected, Capital C, Amsterdam (NL); Where is the Madness You Promised Me, Hudson Valley Museum of Modern Art, Peekskill, NY (US); Discover the Modern, Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Top Floor, Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Van Cobra tot Boorolie, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (NL); Outof office, Singer Museum, Laren (NL); Freedom – The Fifty Key Dutch Artworks Since 1968, curated by Hans den Hartog Jager, Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle (NL); and De meest eigentijdse schilderijen tentoonstelling, Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht (NL). Beekman’s work can be found in various public, private and institutional collections including ABN Amro Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); Straus Family Collection, New York, NY (US); EKARD Collection; ING Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (NL). 

Beekman’s first major monograph, designed by Irma Boom, will be published by NAI Publishers and released in February 2021. 

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