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Biography

Tjebbe Beekman’s loaded canvases are abstract and expressive at the same time, disorienting the viewer's sense of space. The artist uses paint, sand and plaster which he layers onto the canvas with a brush, palette knife or his fingers, to later be scraped away or built up into relief. The layered surfaces of Beekman’s paintings underline the meaning of his work, and follow the artist's interest in architectural space.

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: Symbiosis: Virtues, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); Reflections beyond the Surface, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); Symbiosis, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); Listen to your eyes, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL); 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 Aedes Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); ABN Amro Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (NL); Straus Family Collection, New York, NY (US); THE EKARD COLLECTION; Collection De Heus-Zomer, Barneveld (NL); The Hort Family Collection, New York, NY (US); ING Art Collection, Amsterdam (NL); Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL); Sanders Collection (NL); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (NL). 

Beekman’s first major monograph, designed by Irma Boom, will be published by nai010 uitgevers / publishers and released in Fall 2021.

Video

'Life-Sized: Tjebbe Beekman' is a film by Anduo Lucia from 25/7 Media (www.25-7.nl)
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