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Exhibition -

Philip Akkerman - Grey Paintings

Philip Akkerman - Grey Paintings

Exhibition overview:


10 Sep - 22 Oct 2011

TORCH gallery


After the summer break TORCH opens with Grey Paintings, a solo-exhibition featuring self-portraits by Philip Akkerman.
The festive opening will take place on Saturday the 10th of September between 5-7pm at the Lauriergracht in Amsterdam. After this event the works will be exhibited until Saturday the 22nd of October.


Facebook RSVP | Philip Akkerman |


Akkerman has been working with the same two themes for 25 years: the riddle of existence and painting itself.
Thousands of self-portraits have since been produced in his studio.
His oeuvre is the result of a methodical test of his potential as a painter while simultaneously functioning as an act of resistance within the history of Art.
Where many have declared painting dead, Akkerman only sees his love for paint and for the act of painting.
He says: "painting is the art form of the free 'common' man and painting will thus only die in a totalitarian regime."
In three set formats he repeatedly repaints his own images using a tried and tested procedure: sketch, grisaille and finally colour.
A remarkable constant within his practice is the return of the colour grey.
Akkerman: "In the end our art consists out of a perpetual crisis: ever appearing new individuals, new opinions, schisms and revolutions."
 These crises - personal and artistic -  are distinctly visible throughout Akkermans oeuvre.
When displayed together they portray the inherent schizophrenia of (contemporary) art.
Akkerman: "... and then, when I am completely lost for thoughts, then I return to grey, like to a kind of save port from which I can plot new actions."

In the recent exhibit Akkermania at the Kunsthal Rotterdam eleven collectors of Akkermans work presented the numerous self-portraits that they have acquired. By doing so they not only made clear that his work is sufficiently in demand, but also that a great variety of work developed from within the narrow framework that Akkerman created for himself.
And from this variety his clients are able to construct collections that suit their own particular interests.
A recognizable but ever changing face stared at the spectator.
These portraits seem familiar through their recurring concentrated gaze but are otherwise completely subject to the artists' whim.

The self-portrait shows us the artist, but nothing seems to be more difficult to grasp than ones own identity. ("The eye that sees everything but itself")
During the Renaissance the artisan stepped out of anonymity and in this light the self-portrait can be seen as one of the first steps toward an autonomous art.
Now that autonomous art is already ancient history the self-portrait is often denounced as kind of narcissism, a step back that adds litte to the developments of an Art-world that craves an avant-garde and progress for the sake of progress. Akkerman consciously takes a step backward.
Back to the origins of painting and her techniques in order to show that little has changed in our culture since 1400 and that it is still possible to make free choices as free citizens... 

Grey Paintings will be akkermans fifth solo-exhibition at TORCH gallery.
He is further represented by gallery Bob van Orsouw in Zurich, Mummery and Schnelle in London, Bravinlee programs in New York, Guido Costa projects in Turin and gallery Polaris in Paris. His work is in numerous collections worldwide and is part of the collection of several museums.
Besides his exhibition in the Kunsthal Rotterdam his works have also been shown at the Witte de With in Rotterdam, Gemeente Museum Den Haag (The Hague) and De Hallen haarlem.
Philip akkerman (1957, Vaassen, NL) lives and works in The Hague.


The opening of the exhibition will be sponsored by Heineken.