Tjebbe Beekman: Tetris
Amsterdam-based artist Tjebbe Beekman, on how a major life turning point became a turning point for his artMichael Shaw, The Conversation Art Podcast, November 25, 2022
Tjebbe Beekman: Tetris at GrimmMary Hrbacek, White Hot Magazine, November 4, 2022
GRIMM is pleased to present Tetris a new solo exhibition by Tjebbe Beekman. This is the artist’s second solo presentation in New York and the first in the gallery’s new Tribeca location.
Increasingly fragmented, polarized, and ever chaotic, Beekman’s new body of work is a personal reflection of contemporary society and a method of coping with the existential events of today through his contemporaries of the past. Titled after the 1980’s arcade game, his new paintings mimic the navigating tasks of the 'Tetris' exercise and are structured with imagery referencing art history as their anchoring subject matter. Each work consists of various levels of material - thick impasto with collaged elements, rope, and sand, combined with the use of acrylic paint -resulting in this new series referencing past artists' contributions to the painterly medium. Far from cynical, Beekman pays homage to the continuum of artistic and technical development which the medium of painting provides: balancing composition, color, depth, and perspective through the lenses of those who have preceded him.
Just as the various elements in the game of 'Tetris' connect, so do Beekman’s textured references, interlocking visual, historic, and structural information in an abundance of composition. In the game, as the speed increases in the stacking of blocks, gaps form where holes between concrete information are left at a loss, similarly to the ways in which we glean information from various media sources at a rapid and disjointed rate today. The viewer may need time to digest each work, as it evokes the un-ending stream of media and information we sift through on a daily basis.
Beekman’s previous work has aimed to focus on the dismantling of contemporary society through a psychoanalytic lens into his own fascination with the genres of history, architecture, and dystopia, as well as his own mediation with the world’s current existential events. With this new body of work referencing both old and modern masters, Beekman develops environments through the embodiment of those who have served as pillars of the artistic field before him. Nodding to historic iconographic painting, like in Massacre of the Innocents, 2022, Beekman continues to break the mold of what is expected of the medium to create new innovation and celebrate the act of creating in its entirety.