Wo man sich trifft

Exhibition Wo man sich trifft in Emsdetten

Starting from the conception of a painting as a place to meet, different approaches can be observed in this international group exhibition. The show looks into the various ways that contemporary painters stage encounters, be it imaginary or with an abstract other. While some of the works guide the spectator’s imagination by delivering a figurative scene or by creating an interior with meaningful objects, others retreat into an exclusive, painterly world, where forms seem to float freely, or where there is no clear sense of perspective but merely the immediate impact of color, surface, and shape instead. The different ways the artists create and handle pictorial space is an extension of their conceptions of what a painting should be or present, and how it anticipates the presence of the other.

Participating artists: Matthias Weischer, Lara de Moor, Rezi van Lankveld, Kiki Kolympari, David Benforado, Erwin Bohatsch, and Caitlin Lonegan. Opening 3 September, 2023, at 11.30 a.m. at the Emsdettener Kunstverein.

Why Paintings Work

Why Paintings Work book cover

In his new book ‘Why Paintings Work’, Jurriaan Benschop navigates the diverse landscape of contemporary painting. He introduces the work of dozens of painters and asks: Why do these paintings work? In what ways do they speak to the viewer? He considers both the visible aspects of painting, such as the depicted motif and the application of paint, and the concepts, beliefs and motivations that underlie the canvas. ‘Why Paintings Work’ is not just about how we look at paintings, but also about finding a language that suits the art and viewing experience of today.

Among the artists featured in this book are: Nikos Aslanidis, David Benforado, Louise Bonnet, Glenn Brown, Maria Capelo, Peter Doig, Béatrice Dreux, Helmut Federle, Beverly Fishman, Elisabeth Frieberg, Victoria Gitman, Veronika Hilger, Martha Jungwirth, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Kristi Kongi, Mark Lammert, Rezi van Lankveld, Michael Markwick, Kerry James Marshall, Lara de Moor, Matthew Metzger, Marc Mulders, Kaido Ole, Jorge Queiroz, Fiona Rae, Daniel Richter, Jessica Stockholder, Marc Trujillo, Anna Tuori, Matthias Weischer, Paula Zarina-Zemane and Gerlind Zeilner.

The book contains 284 pages with more than 100 illustrations in color, paperback 14 x 20 cm, in English. Published May 2023 by Garret Publications, Helsinki. Ask your local (museum)book store to order your copy (through Idea Books) *** ISBN 9789527222171 *** You can also ORDER A COPY through this website by filling out the order form HERE Delivery time in Europe is about one week, outside Europe two weeks approximately.

In these shops or institutions the book is already available: Athens: Kourd Gallery; Booktique, Hyper Hypo, Alyki, Paros: Cycladic Arts, Amsterdam, Den Haag: The American Book Center, Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, Bath, UK: Magalleria, Berlin: Do You Read Me?Helsinki: Suomalainen; Prisma, London: Art Data, Stockholm, Göteborg: Adlibris, Vienna: Giese und Schweiger, USA >> Houston, TX: Basket Books, Boston, MA: ICA Store, and online also through Amazon USA or Amazon DE

What we Learn from Land and Sea

What We Learn from Land and Sea, view of exhibition at Paros, Cycladic Arts

On 5 August, 2023 the exhibition What We Learn from Land and Sea has opened at Cycladic Arts, an artist-run residency and exhibition space on the Greek island of Paros. The question of balancing forces, and the right ‘measure,’ connects the works of the five artists from different backgrounds. The starting point is a journal entry from the Aegean Notebooks of poet and essayist Zissimos Lorenzatos (1915-2004):

“The sky, earth and sea of Greece only allow you a limited number of things to believe, build, sketch, live or speak. The smallest wrong movement and everything can fall into the abyss. Sometimes its inhabitants have known this and have believed, built, sketched, lived (and spoken) accordingly. At other times they have missed the mark and tried to do other things which neither the sky nor the earth nor the sea in this country allow you to do. Things that the country won’t take, as they say.”

In his Notebooks, Lorenzatos recounted his trips over the Aegean Sea in the 1970s and 1980s, visiting many of the Cycladic Islands by sailboat. Daily observations about weather conditions, places, and people he met merge with philosophical reflections on language, agriculture, technology, progress, and how to live “the good life.” Lorenzatos was inspired by what can be learned from land and sea. He believed that the spirit and setting of a place offers a set of natural limitations. People who build and create should not ignore these measures, but be instructed and inspired by the environment. Lorenzatos’s writings can be read as an ode to the Aegean, as an early wake-up call concerning climate, and also as a reminder of existing knowledge. The right measures in life do not need to be invented. They are already available but need to be remembered, observed, and put into practice.

The artists in this group exhibition do not make loud statements. What they think, feel, or strive for is absorbed, reflected, and transformed in their work. It comes in the shape of archetypal figures, in bands of colors taken from houses or skies, in stony landscapes, in stories of origin, and in the act of existential balance. The exhibition presents artworks that speak about measures, boundaries, and relationships through the grace of form.

Participating artists: Nikos Aslanidis, Béatrice Dreux, Kati Roover, Sean Scully, Maria Spyraki, curated by Jurriaan Benschop for Cycladic Arts, an initiative of Dimitra Skandali. Exhibition 5 August- 30 September, 2023. Visiting hours daily 7.30 – 10 pm (except Tuesday). Image: installation view with works by Maria Spyraki (left, center) and Béatrice Dreux (right).

Book launch & exhibition in Athens

opening and book launch Why Paintings Work in Athens

On July 12 the book Why Paintings Work was presented at Kourd Gallery in Athens. The gallery shows currently work of 8 artists who are featured in the book. There are different threads running through the show, connecting some of the works, and putting them into a dialogue. For instance Michael Markwick and David Benforado share an interest in nature and materiality, yet without presenting straightforward images of nature. Paula Zarina-Zemane and Maria Capelo both stay close to the moment of conception, when some kind of recognizable forms starts to appear on the surface of the work. In their processes a compositional idea is present, yet there is as much attention for accident and the intuition of the painter’s hand at work. Walking through the exhibition, further connections can be discovered. The participating artists are Nikos Aslanidis, David Benforado, Maria Capelo, Béatrice Dreux, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Michael Markwick, Paula Zarina-Zemane, Gerlind Zeilner. In the book around 30 additional artists are featured.

Until 6 August Kourd gallery is open during weekdays (Mon-Friday, 12-8 pm) at Kassianis 4 in Athens. From 7 August it will be closed for holidays. Late August and early September the show can be visited by appointment. Further announcements will be made.

Marc Trujillo at West (+video)

Marc Trujillo painting

Los Angeles based painter Marc Trujillo shows recent works in the exhibition ‘8810 Tampa Avenue’ at West in The Hague (The Netherlands). Curator Jurriaan Benschop spoke with the artist at the opening (on May 7th 2023), about what makes a painting work, Trujillo’s relation to old Dutch Masters, and how to deal with desire in a painting.

Living and working in Los Angeles, the artist takes stock of everyday American life by portraying precise details of shopping malls, fast food restaurants and consumer goods. The paintings are small and compact, in contrast to the physical and existential space taken up by consumer architecture in the American landscape. For Trujillo, painting is a way to pay attention to places that are not meant to be looked at for a longer time. He remarks, ‘I look for the precise expression of mixed feelings.’ According to him, a painting is successful and most potent when it comprises the necessary degree of ambivalence. What is visually appealing and fascinating can at the same time generate uncomfortable thoughts on globalization, sustainability and the emptiness behind the facades of material prosperity.

Trujillo is one of more than 40 artists featured in the book ‘Waarom een schilderij werkt’ (Why Paintings Work), by Jurriaan Benschop. The book is available during exhibition hours at West , The Hague, Wed-Sun 12-18h. The exhibition is on view till 27 August, 2023.

Spring Tour USA

In Spring 2023 I visit several Midwest universities for a talk about my book Why Paintings Work. The tour starts in Aiken (South Carolina), and then goes to Bloomington (Indiana), Chicago (Illinois), Fayetteville (Arkansas) and Lyon College (Arkansas). Most visits consists of a public lecture and studio visits at the department of visual arts.

Why Paintings Work navigates the stylistically diverse landscape of contemporary painting. In the book, the author introduces the work of dozens of painters, discussing the themes, techniques, and sensibilities that can be found in their art. He continually returns to the question: Why does this painting work? In what ways does it speak to the viewer? He considers both the visible aspects of a painting, such as the depicted motif and the application of paint, as well as the concepts, beliefs, and motivations that lie behind the canvas. Why Paintings Work is not just about the mechanics of looking at works of art, but also about finding a language that suits the paintings and the experiences of the present day.

Why Paintings Work is published by Garret Publications (Helsinki). Public lectures are scheduled at USC Aiken (30 March), IU BLoomington (6 April, Painting annex), University of Chicago (10 April, Logan Center) and Fayetville (20 April, UARK Fine Arts Building).

Martha Jungwirth in Düsseldorf

exhibition Martha Jungwirth at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

Martha Jungwirth lives in Vienna but part of the year she spend on the Cycladic Islands in Greece, such as Paros or Serifos. Impressions of the landscape, the architecture, the vegetation end up in her watercolors, which form the basis of both small and large scale paintings. A survey of Jungwirth’s work was presented in 2022 at the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, including some works of the series Paros.

For the book that accompanies the exhibition I wrote an essay about Jungwirth’s approach to painting, about her love for Vladimir Nabokov and about her interest in the immediate, pre-verbal working of paintings.

You find a more detailed description of the book here

Caitlin Lonegan in Vienna

Caitlin Lonegan

On the occasion of Caitlin Lonegan’s exhibition in Vienna, at Galerie Nächst St Stephan, Rosemarie Schwarzwälder invited me to reflect on the work . In this video you see an introduction to the exhibition, in German with English subtitles.

Kunstenaarsgesprek Lara de Moor

Schilderij Lara de Moor Velvet, 2020

Ze komt uit een familie van kunstenaars en schrijvers, maar ze is maar tot op zekere hoogte fan van het woord, als het om beeldende kunst gaat. Woorden kunnen als loopplank toegang tot een schilderij verschaffen, maar ze kunnen het schilderij ook inkapselen, vastzetten in betekenis, meent Lara De Moor. Woorden neigen dingen hard te maken, te doen stollen, terwijl het leven zelf vloeibaar is, zich in de tijd afspeelt, steeds verandert. Net als verf, die vloeibaar is als je haar opbrengt en pas stolt als de lagen over elkaar komen te liggen, de compositie vorm krijgt, het tafereel droogt.

Leegte schilderen is een paradoxale bezigheid. In het werk van Lara de Moor gaat het om wat in de lucht hangt in nagenoeg lege huizen, om de atmosfeer die in een kamer kan worden aangetroffen. Enerzijds wordt de toon gezet door sporen van de tijd, zoals een lichtplek op de muur die verraadt waar jarenlang een schilderij hing. Anderzijds is er de schilder die een stemming meebrengt en de lege ruimtes daarmee oplaadt en bepaalde aspecten accentueert. Of is het de bezoeker die het tafereel inkleurt? Wat objectief aanwezig is of in de lucht hangt, kan niet scherp worden gescheiden van wat er in de beschouwer sluimert.

Naar aanleiding van de verschijning van Waarom een schilderij werkt, ga ik op zaterdag zaterdag 10 December in gesprek met beeldend kunstenaar Lara de Moor. De fragmenten hierboven zijn uit het hoofdstuk over haar werk. Er zal tevens een presentatie van haar schilderijen in de galerie te zien zijn.

10 dec 2022, Galerie Roger Katwijk, Prinsengracht 737, Amsterdam, 16.30 u (inloop vanaf 16u). Vrij toegang. Graag even aanmelden vooraf: info@galerierogerkatwijk.nl

Waarom een schilderij werkt

boek cover Waarom een schilderij werkt

In Waarom een schilderij werkt onderzoekt Jurriaan Benschop de veelvormige schilderkunst van onze huidige tijd. Hij introduceert het werk van tientallen schilders, bespreekt de thema’s die in het werk te vinden zijn en stelt daarbij steeds de vraag: Waarom werkt dit schilderij? Op wat voor manier heeft het betekenis en kan het overtuigen? Dit brengt hem bij zowel zichtbare aspecten van schilderkunst, zoals beeldmotief en de manier van schilderen, als bij wat onzichtbaar achter het doek ligt: de drijfveren, het wereldbeeld en de culturele achtergrond van de kunstenaar.

Waarom een schilderij werkt gaat, behalve over de vraag hoe we naar schilderkunst kijken, ook over de vraag hoe we over kunst spreken en schrijven. Wil taal over een kunstwerk iets betekenen, dan moet ze ermee in evenwicht zijn, niet topzwaar of overdreven, maar passend bij wat in het kunstwerk aan de orde komt.

Het boek gaat in op het werk van Louise Bonnet, Peter Doig, Helmut Federle, Beverly Fishman, Victoria Gitman, Martha Jungwirth, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Rezi van Lankveld, Kerry James Marshall, Lara de Moor (coverbeeld), Marc Mulders, Kaido Ole, Paula Rego, Jessica Stockholder, Daniel Richter, Anna Tuori, Matthias Weischer en vele anderen. Verder zijn er thematische hoofdstukken die onder meer ingaan op de vraag wat ‘inhoud’ in een schilderij is, wanneer een schilder een colorist wordt genoemd, en hoe concept en schilderkunst zich verhouden.

Waarom een schilderij werkt is verschenen bij uitgeverij van Oorschot Het boek kost 25 euro en is verkrijgbaar in Nederlandse en Vlaamse boekwinkels. De Engelse vertaling verschijnt in het voorjaar van 2023. Meld je aan voor de nieuwsbrief om nieuws en details over lezingen te ontvangen.