Aubrey Levinthal in Berlin

Aubrey Levinthal painting, exhibition Cloud Cover Berlin

Subject is a paradoxical matter in painting. What is depicted may seem to be the first thing to talk about – three figures swimming, people waiting for the bus – yet it is the last thing that matters when identifying what is special about a painting. In the case of Aubrey Levinthal’s exhibition Cloud Cover in Berlin, the subject matter might be described as scenes of domestic and urban life. The Philadelphia-based painter takes what she sees in her hometown as motifs to work with in the studio, whether it is a swimming lesson, a commuter trip, a dinner party, or a view of a snowy landscape.  What lingers in the mind, though, is not the action she observes, but  the ambivalent atmosphere of scenes and the texture of situations as they are captured through color, light and paint application.

Levinthal seems to have one hand in the present day, considering the images of city life, the window signs or a t-shirt print, and the other in art history, for instance, in the late 19th century. The works of Honoré Daumier come to mind in the way that Levinthal sharply characterizes her figures, while the spatial effects of flattened planes of color are reminiscent of Pierre Bonnard’s or Edouard Vuillard’s paintings. With many grays, whites, and browns, the palette and mood in most of Levinthal’s works is muted, but often one strong accent color is included to give contrast, such as the bright red in Coat Zipper, or the large yellow couch in M + C (Blanket). Such color constellations seem important for creating balance and organizing each painting, maybe even more so than the actual scene that is depicted.

The most complex work in the exhibition is the last one made for the show, Head Lights (Bus Stop). Here, the tilted perspective makes the sidewalk, the light beams of the approaching bus, the pit in the road, and the two waiting figures seem close and upfront to the viewer, different layers presented with equal intensity. Thus, the work is more about evoking the presence of an environment as experienced in an individual than about the outward appearance of things. Interestingly, despite the muted (in this case, grayish and rainy) palette, the works never fail to come across as a celebration of the visible world and an invitation to look with attention at how details, color, and light interrelate and together make up the patchwork of life.

Cloud Cover by Audrey Levinthal is on view at Haverkampf Leistenschneider in Beriln from 26 April till 15 June, 2024. On the occasion of the exhibition a publication was presented with texts by Dorothea Zwirner and Russell Tovey.

Book ‘Why Paintings Work’

Why Paintings Work book cover

In ‘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. Throughout the book different themes come up, while looking at the work of contemporary painters, such as nature, the body, touch, movement, identity, memory and spirituality.

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. Bookshops order through Idea books in Amsterdam *** ISBN 9789527222171 *** Individuals can 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:

E U R O P E Athens: Booktique; Hyper Hypo, Alyki, Paros: Cycladic Arts, Amsterdam: The American Book Center, Stedelijk Museum, Utrecht: Broese, Bath, UK: Magalleria, Berlin: Do You Read Me?, Uslar & Rai, Helsinki: Suomalainen; Prisma, London: Art Data, Münster: Extrabuch, Riga: Zuzeum, Stockholm, Göteborg: Adlibris, Vienna: Giese und Schweiger,

U S A Houston, TX: Basket Books, Boston, MA: ICA Store, Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Stories, Ooga Booga, Santa Barbara: Chaucers Books.

Worldwide online order through Walter König (Germany, Austria), Art Data (United Kingdom) or through the website you are currently visiting.


Venice national pavilions

Iva Lulashi, painting in Albanian pavilion, Venice, 2024

The national pavilions offer, more than the Biennale’s main exhibition ‘Foreigner Everyhwere’, the excitement of seeing a cross section of contemporary art, layered in conception and with relevance for what is happening now. The various presentations are not necessarily connected, as every country had its own path to Venice, selecting one or multiple artists. Therefore, it is hard to discuss this part of the Biennale as one exhibition. However, what unites all exhibitors is their platform on the global stage provided by Venice. The question of how artists approach this opportunity and whether they can handle it, becomes part of the quality of the work. Below are ten pavilions that made a lasting impression on the author, while overt political commentaries are avoided and instead imaginative approaches are presented, tailored to the specific site of the building, the city or the Biennale.


Germany chose two artists, Ersan Mondtag and Yael Bartana, for the pavilion who both make a firm appearance, albeit without their contributions complementing each other. I found Bartana’s Light to the Nations to be the most captivating. The centerpiece, Farewell, is a 15-minute-long science-fiction film depicting people performing a ritual dance in nature before they leave Earth in a spaceship to save themselves and humanity. This Generation Ship has large round cylinders, each representing a different sphere of life such as learning, living and healing. Its form is based on the sephirot diagram, the main image of the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystic tradition. The film presents messianic narrative that, as is often the case in Bartana’s work, teeters on the brink of Romantic kitsch while closely resembling a religious movement in its aspirations and aesthetics. Her work exudes controlled pathos, grand gestures, and technological precision. The urgency of the science-fiction narrative lies in the question that may easily arise when reading the news today: Isn’t it time to consider an escape? Or perhaps more profoundly: Is escape even still possible?


In the Albanian pavilion, Iva Lulashi presents her works on a 1:1 scale model of her apartment in Milan, recreated within the Arsenale. The walls are arranged accordingly, the furniture and windows left out, providing a white-cube setting for a series of paintings united under the overarching theme Love as a Glass of Water. The figurative paintings show scenes of desire, the moment before or after making love, and other experiences, from a female perspective. Part of the works are based on erotic or pornographic footage that is then modified during the painting process. The domestic floor plan delivers a shelter where the works can have the intimacy and focus that the artist wishes to be the context for her work. At times this creates the feeling of looking at something you are not supposed to see, as with the painting of two female figures and a male, all naked and looking down, presented in a narrow tiled room that at the artist’s home must be the bathroom. A perfect example of how the presentation is part of the painting’s meaning.


The Croatian pavilion stands out as one of the most endearing spaces at the Biennale, serving not only as an exhibition venue but also as an artist studio for Vlatka Horvat, who invites artists from around the world to contribute small art pieces. However, these contributions come with a unique condition: they must be personally couriered by someone planning to travel to Venice, eliminating the need for additional shipping, and highlighting the environmental concerns associated with large-scale events like the Biennale. The works received by Horvat are displayed temporarily alongside her own pieces inspired by walks through the city where she captures memorable sights and moments and reimagines them through collage and drawing on photography. What Horvat achieves is a space of concentration, where looking at works and discussing them happen on an intimate, almost domestic scale. This contrasts in a positive sense with the spectacle of the Biennale, with its long queues and dense exhibition areas, plus the loud drums of major galleries hosting so-called collateral events across the city. Here, art-making takes on a more personal and improvised dimension, emphasizing the interconnectedness of artists. Moreover, the rotating display of works includes contributions from artists not officially representing a country.

Read the full report, with a selection of 10 pavilions, on Arterritory

Waarom een schilderij werkt

boek cover Waarom een schilderij werkt

In dit boek wordt het werk van tientallen hedendaagse schilders voorgesteld. Daarbij komt steeds de vraag aan de orde: Waarom werkt dit schilderij? Op wat voor manier heeft het betekenis en kan het overtuigen? Het zijn vragen die onder meer voortkomen uit de behoefte om te kunnen navigeren in het veelvormige landschap van de schilderkunst van nu, waarin verschillende stijlen en houdingen naast en door elkaar bestaan.

Enerzijds lijkt tegenwoordig alles te kunnen, en is het aanbod van kunst groot, maar anderzijds vindt niemand echt dat alles kan. Bij kunst horen noties over wat top is en talent, over wat progressief is, kritisch of ter zake, of wat aan kracht verloren heeft. Daarbij heerst in de kunst, net als in andere domeinen, een strijd om aandacht; velen willen gezien wor- den of iets tonen, en zowel kunsteigene als afgeleide motieven spelen daarbij een rol.

Waarom een schilderij werkt gaat, behalve over de vraag hoe we naar schilderijen kijken en hoe ze werken, over de vraag hoe we over kunst schrijven en spreken. Wil taal over kunst iets betekenen, dan moet ze ermee in evenwicht zijn, niet topzwaar of overdreven, maar passend bij de kunst die aan de orde komt. Er zijn zichtbare aspecten die kunnen worden aangekaart, zoals het beeldmotief, de compositie, het kleurgebruik en de manier waarop de verf wordt aangebracht. Maar er zijn ook onzichtbare factoren: de drijfveren, het wereldbeeld, de herkomst of de visie van de kunstenaar. In dit boek worden deze aspecten onderzocht en met elkaar in verband gebracht. Het gaat om wat je ziet in schilderijen, maar ook om de houding en de ideeën die erachter liggen.

Het boek gaat in op het werk van Rezi van Lankveld, Louise Bonnet, Peter Doig, Helmut Federle, Beverly Fishman, Daniel Richer, Victoria Gitman, Martha Jungwirth, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Kerry James Marshall, Lara de Moor (coverbeeld), Marc Mulders, Kaido Ole, Paula Rego, Jessica Stockholder, Anna Tuori, Matthias Weischer en vele anderen.

Waarom een schilderij werkt is verschenen bij uitgeverij van Oorschot Het boek kost 25 euro en is verkrijgbaar in Nederlandse en Vlaamse boekwinkels, bijvoorbeeld bij Copyright in Gent, Boekhandel Robert Premsela in Amsterdam, Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, Kunstmuseum Den Haag en Broese in Utrecht. Het kan ook hier via deze website besteld worden.

​​Venice Biennale 2024: Is It about Art or the Maker?

Foreigners Everywhere, Venice Biennale 2024

Visiting the Venice Biennale’s main exhibition Foreigners Everywhere means encountering many different conceptions of art making – or safer would be to just say “making.” A recurrent question while navigating the exhibition is “What am I looking at?”

I speak about ownership with a member of an aboriginal clan in Australia who is present at the Arsenale. “If you ask me for my jacket, I have to give it to you, because we are related,” he says. What is earned in his community, for instance through selling paintings, is shared; there is no hierarchy between people, or animals. One of their painters, Naminapu Maymuru-White, was invited to present at the Biennale a series of bark paintings that show animal and celestial motifs, and are based on centuries-old stories. The practice requires the maker to follow patterns of depiction as they have been passed down. They are meant to invoke old wisdom, and to connect the earthly sphere with heaven, the ancestors with the present. “When I go back, I don’t have a room with nice art works, I look into the eyes of a crocodile,” the man tells me, picturing the ferocity of nature back home, far from the city. “Do you eat animals?” I ask him. “Sure, and they eat us.”

The textiles, paintings, videos, sculptures, and other artifacts presented at this year’s Biennale are made for particular reasons, though not necessarily as art. What supposedly connects all the makers in the exhibition is that they are in some way foreign, be it indigenous, refugee, queer, or otherwise outside the mainstream – that is, in the eyes of curator Adriano Pedrosa, who leads the São Paulo Museum of Art. He has chosen mostly makers who originally come from the global South, and given them full stage. Thereby he focuses on the one hand on the 20th century to show how modern art has developed in different regions in the South, producing slightly different variations on vocabularies such as abstraction in painting. On the other hand, the focus is on current practices in all their diversity.

“I don’t know what I am looking at,” a gallery owner exclaimed, after having spent a day in the exhibition. Such a response could indicate excitement about meeting the unknown, but in this case it expressed frustration. The paradox with looking at something unknown is that it only resonates in the viewer if there is some level of familiarity about the discourse in which it could be discussed, be it about form or themes, about actions or concerns. It is the curator’s task to provide that frame-work, or direct the gaze through grouping and combining works. In Venice, though, a common base is not there; there is no aesthetic argument guiding the exhibition, which makes it very hard to compare things. Every work is a window to a world, even reflecting aspects that in the secular Western societies may be missed. But this requires the viewer to shift gears in every curve while going through the show: Is it craft, folk art, criticism, spiritual practice, political activism, or documentation? All of that can be found, and more.


Read the full review on Arterritory

CAHH opens in Valencia

Mat Collishaw in Valencia

Should there ever be the need for an artist who can envision the apocalypse, Mat Collishaw would probably be the right man to call. This thought came up after I saw some of his work in Valencia, in the newly opened Centro de Arte Hortensia Herrero (CAHH), a private collection gone public, with an impressive list of artists, both Spanish and international. Collishaw is one of a handful who were invited to develop a site-specific work that would find a home in the renovated seventeenth-century Palazzo Valeriola in the center of town. In his work, there is often a sense of danger, be it violence, cruelty, or simply decay. But he presents his work in such a monumental and ingenious way that you cannot help looking. Like staring into a fire.

The CAHH was founded by Hortensia Herrero, a collector who, with her husband, Juan Roig, largely owns one of Spain’s supermarket chains. The headquarters of the company are close to Valencia, which is the reason the city is the focus of the cultural and entrepreneurial endeavors of the family. Not tax money, but grocery money coming back to the people.

Of the invited artists, Collishaw is probably the one who engaged most with the city, its tradition, and its history. For his Transformer (2023), he was inspired by the Fallas, Valencia’s yearly spring festivities accompanied by grand fireworks as well as the burnings of giant wooden ninots. These figures or characters are artfully built and carried in processions, after which they are burned. The fire stands for renewal, getting rid of (hated) figures; it is a centuries-old rite of spring. While in other cities, people might panic when they hear explosions, in Valencia nobody would believe it is war or an attack. It is just fireworks.


Read the full review online in the Brooklyn Rail, first published in Feb. 2024

Lia Kazakou in Thessaloniki

Lia Kazakou, Untitled, 2024, detail

It has been eight years since Lia Kazakou presented a solo exhibition in her hometown of Thessaloniki. While her choice of motifs has largely remained the same – fragments of clothing, the front view of a dress, a single sleeve, the folds around a zipper – something has changed in the way she portrays them, imbuing the motifs with greater ambiguity. This development can be seen in the current exhibition titled Μύχια Ύλη, which could be translated as Innermost Matter. 

In a large work at the entrance (all works Untitled, 2023-24), a range of greens, from shiny pale to matte dark, coexist within a single canvas depicting a coat with a waistband, slightly opened. In a smaller work, a deep blue with dark shadows, light creating the impression of a film fragment. The fabric in the 15 paintings in the show is opulent, rich texture depicted in detail, with folds and the interplay of light and shadow. As the clothing is often portrayed close up, the viewer is denied the full picture or the appearance of the figure wearing the garment, with only a strip of skin hinting at their presence.

Throughout the exhibition, the motifs easily transition from their figurative origins into abstraction, from identifiable objects into patterns of parallel lines or gradations of colors. What initially seems like soft fabric may simultaneously evoke the touch of harder materials such as bone, wood, or metal. This material flexibility appears to stem from Kazakou’s increased freedom and confidence in handling her subject matter. Over the years, her motifs have gained intensity in color, accompanied by a heightened sense of plasticity. The motifs appear not just as garments, but as matter with an essence.

Innermost Matter is on view till 11 May, 2024 at Donopoulos IFA , 3 Agias Theodoras in Thessaloniki. The image shows a detail of Untitled, 2024, oil on linen, 110 x 70 cm.

Podcast Helmut Middendorf

exhibition helmut middendorf keteleer 24

On the occasion of his exhibition in Belgium, I visited Helmut Middendorf in his studio in Athens. You can listen to the conversation, recorded for Glean magazine, on Spotify and Apple podcast channels.

That was then. This is now, is the title of the exhibition at Keteleer Gallery, showing different phases of Middendorfs artistic production. In the podcast, we discuss the works that he made in Berlin in the 1980’s, being part of the music scene in Kreuzberg, as well as recent works that he made in his studio in Athens. Does the city influence his work? How did the digital era enter the work of the painter?

The exhibition at Keteleer in Antwerp is on view till 27 april, 2024.

Edition Lara de Moor

In 2023 Lara de Moor produced a special edition, based on an earlier painting she had made: ‘Spiller.’ The edition was first presented at the group exhibition Wo man sich trifft at the Emsdettener Kunstverein in Germany. The print is for sale through this website.

The edition is a fine art (piezo) print on Hahnemühle paper. Each sheet has been individually treated with black ink. As a consequence, in each print the dripping paint ‘enters the room’ in a different way, making it a unique art work.

The price of one print is 500 euro (shipping costs excluded). Pick up without shipping costs can be arranged in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin and Athens.

‘Spiller’ (2020) was used as the cover image for the Dutch edition of Why Paintings Work (Waarom een schilderij werkt). The work of De Moor is featured in this book among the work of circa 40 other contemporary painters. For further information, send us an e-mail: info (at) jurriaanbenschop (dot) com. You can order the edition through the contact page on this website

Spiller (2023), black ink on fine art print on Hahnemüller paper, 29,7 x 42 cm each, edition of 60 + AP, signed and numbered.

Press about ‘Why Paintings Work’

Why Paintings Work in English and Dutch

“He practices an ’embedded’ art criticism,” Daniel Rovers wrote in De Witte Raaf about Why Paintings Work. “He (Benschop) did the same in his previous book, Salt in the wound. Artists in Europe. (2016), but then he covered multiple visual genres. The restriction to painting pays off this time.” Below you find excerpts from De Witte Raaf and other book reviews of Why Paintings Work. The fragments are translated into English. To read the original texts in Dutch, scroll down.

Daniël Rovers, “Why a Painting Works,” pulished in De Witte Raaf, Nov-Dec 2023:

“Benschop simply wants to facilitate a conversation about contemporary painting, especially in a time when, formally speaking, almost anything seems possible, while, morally, strict norms are sometimes imposed on the question of who can depict what. He does this in a language that, as he writes himself, is ‘not top-heavy or exaggerated,’ but ‘suitable for the art at hand.'”

“No one claimed at the entrance of the museum that everything about an artwork should be clear just by looking, he dryly states in his introduction. In that one sentence, the style and attitude of the author are encapsulated. Here is a modest, attentive enthusiast who listens well, especially to artists, and much less to critics or art historians. There is understatement in his sentences, which are clear and self-explanatory, rarely extending beyond what the content allows.”

Why Painting Works is lucid and concrete, yet also conceptual in nature. It presents an unforeseen, unimaginable series of perspectives, techniques, and approaches, of which, as a reader, contrary to what the title suggests, you do not know if they work, because you only see the color images on the pages, something entirely different from three-dimensional canvases. Benschop succeeds in arousing the desire to see them in real life. In that sense, this book, of which an English version has been published by Garret Publications, is a catalog – three hundred pages of text and about seventy images – of a future exhibition, should a museum director grant him the favor of the necessary galleries.”

Maarten Buser, ‘Tastend kijken en dan terugpraten’ in literary magazine Liter, December 5, 2022. Review in the form of an open letter:

“Anyone expecting a specific (viewing) method based on the title ‘Why Painting Works’ will be disappointed. That operation – the ‘mechanism’ by which the painting convinces and makes you want to keep looking – varies per chapter. For example, when Kaido Ole, in a comic-like manner, opposes overly expressive painting, his art works differently than that of Beverly Fishman, who, with the visual language of minimalist abstraction, says something essential about marketing and the pharmaceutical industry. Each artist must be approached differently, and even after a sharp formal analysis, there may be enough uncertainty in the interpretation. In all those attempts, you seem to be as much a mechanic as a mystic.”

“Even when words may fall short to capture something that is better expressed in an image, they can guide your gaze. In that sense, writing – or more broadly, speaking – can help to get a better grip on art without completely dispelling the mystery. Why Painting Works is a skillful demonstration of this.”

Karel Alleene, ‘Waarom een schilderij werkt,’ on Cutting Edge (online), December 20, 2022:

“Jurriaan Benschop (1963) writes relatively concise essay collections about art. Similar authors are Bernard Dewulf, Roland Jooris, or Hans den Hartog Jager. Writers who, averse to quick sentiments, embark on a quest to provide personal meaning to a painting. In doing so, they steer clear of aesthetic terms that often transform art essays into enigmatic texts.”

Benschop’s pointed and pertinent writing style ensures that you frequently underline sentences with a pencil. Because you know that this is the kind of book you will refer to frequently. We place ‘Why Paintings Work’ alongside Bernard Dewulf’s Bijlichtingen (2001) and Roland Jooris’ Geschilderd of geschreven (1992). Small essay collections that make the reader eager to view the described works in a museum.”

You can order the book in your local art book store or through this website by filling out the order form HERE Delivery time in Europe is about one week, outside Europe two weeks approximately.

T E X T S in D U T C H

Daniël Rovers, “Waarom een schilderij werkt,” in De Witte Raaf, Nov-Dec 2023.

“Benschop wil simpelweg een gesprek over hedendaagse schilderkunst mogelijk maken, juist in een tijd waarin formeel gezien zo goed als alles mogelijk lijkt, terwijl in moreel opzicht – de vraag wie wat mag afbeelden – soms strenge normen worden opgelegd. Dat doet hij in een taal die, zoals hij zelf schrijft, ‘niet topzwaar of overdreven’ is, ‘maar passend bij de kunst die aan de orde komt’.”

“‘Hier is een bescheiden, attente liefhebber aan het woord, die goed luistert, vooral naar kunstenaars, en veel minder naar critici of kunsthistorici. Er zit understatement in zijn zinnen, die helder zijn en voor zich spreken, en zich zelden breder maken dan de inhoud toelaat.”

“Hij bedrijft een ‘ingebedde’ kunstkritiek. Dat deed hij ook in zijn vorige boek, Zout in de wond. Kunstenaars in Europa (2016), maar toen bestreek hij meerdere beeldende genres. De beperking tot de schilderkunst werpt dit keer haar vruchten af.”

“Waarom een schilderij werkt is lucide en concreet, en toch ook conceptueel van aard. Het presenteert een onvoorziene, onvoorstelbare reeks van invalshoeken, technieken en benaderingen, waarvan je als lezer – wat de titel ook mag beweren – nu juist níét weet of ze werken, omdat je op de pagina’s slechts de kleurenafbeeldingen ziet, wat iets volkomen anders is dan driedimensionale doeken. Benschop slaagt erin het verlangen te wekken ze in het echt te willen zien. In die zin is dit boek, waarvan een Engelstalige versie door Garret Publications is uitgegeven, een catalogus – driehonderd pagina’s tekst en een zeventigtal afbeeldingen – van een toekomstige tentoonstelling, mocht een hem genegen museumdirecteur de tentoonstellingsmaker de nodige zalen gunnen.”

Maarten Buser ‘Tastend kijken en dan terugpraten’ in literatir tijdschrift Liter, 5 december 2022. Recensie in de vorm van een open brief

“Wie op basis van de titel Waarom een schilderij werkt een bepaalde (kijk)methode verwacht, komt bedrogen uit. Die werking – het ‘mechanisme’ waardoor het schilderij overtuigt en waardoor je ernaar wil blijven kijken – verschilt per hoofdstuk. Wanneer bijvoorbeeld Kaido Ole zich op het stripachtige afzet tegen al te expressieve schilderkunst, werkt zijn kunst immers anders dan die van Beverly Fishman, die met de beeldtaal van minimalistische abstractie iets wezenlijks zegt over marketing en de medicijnindustrie. Elke kunstenaar moet op een andere manier benaderd worden en zelfs na een scherpe formele analyse kan er genoeg onzeker blijken in de interpretatie. U lijkt me in al die pogingen evenzeer een monteur als een mysticus.”

“Ook als woorden tekort kunnen schieten om iets te vangen dat beter in beeld uitgedrukt kan worden, kunnen ze je blik bijsturen. In die zin kan het schrijven – of breder: het spreken – helpen om toch wat meer grip te krijgen op kunst, zonder het mysterie geheel te laten verdwijnen. Waarom een schilderij werkt is daar een knappe demonstratie van.”Ook als woorden tekort kunnen schieten om iets te vangen dat beter in beeld uitgedrukt kan worden, kunnen ze je blik bijsturen. In die zin kan het schrijven – of breder: het spreken – helpen om toch wat meer grip te krijgen op kunst, zonder het mysterie geheel te laten verdwijnen. Waarom een schilderij werkt is daar een knappe demonstratie van.”

Karel Alleene, ‘Waarom een schilderij werkt,’ gepubliceerd op Cutting Edge (online), December 20, 2022:

“Jurriaan Benschop (1963) schrijft relatief beknopte essaybundels over kunst. Soortgenoten zijn Bernard Dewulf, Roland Jooris of Hans den Hartog Jager. Schrijvers die wars van snelle sentimenten een zoektocht aanvatten om een persoonlijke betekenis te verschaffen aan een schilderij. Daarbij blijven ze weg van esthetische termen die geregeld kunstessays transformeren in enigmatische teksten.”

“Benschops puntige en pertinente schrijfstijl zorgt ervoor dat je veelvuldig zinnen aanstreept met potlood. Omdat je weet dat dit het soort boek is waar je veelvuldig naar terug zal grijpen. We plaatsen ‘Waarom een schilderij werkt’ naast Bernard Dewulfs ‘Bijlichtingen’ (’01) en Roland Jooris’ ‘Geschilderd of geschreven’ (’92). Kleine essaybundels die de lezer zin doen krijgen de beschreven werken te bekijken in een museum.”

Waarom een schilderij werkt kan in elke Nederlandse of Vlaamse boekhandel besteld worden. Wilt u het boek via de post ontvangen, dan kunt u ook via deze website bestellen op deze pagina.