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Simon Benson represented by gallery Phoebus

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The following text is written by Mirjam de Winter from gallery Phoebus, who represents Simon Benson.

Simon Benson is a draughtsman above all else. In pencil, on A4 and A3 size paper, you find almost everything: from almost invisible organic lines drawn in a searching automatic hand, to harder lines, drawn with the help of a ruler or a template; as well as areas of solid fill or cross-hatched and soft nebulous planes. Since the end of the 80’s nature and architecture have been his main subjects in which he can deploy his drawing skills. In the course of the 90’s, language and text make an appearance, along with the human form, sensory perception and feelings. In 1998, he makes the first self-portraits. In the meantime, new techniques are being used in the works on paper: photography and digital prints. Alongside all this, Benson has been making wall-paintings and three dimensional wall and floor objects made from mdf: he has also realised a number of public space commissions.

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In 1997, Simon Benson, made a text-piece, ‘Universal Anatomy’, in the form of a digital and a silk-screen print. It consists of a list of about 300 Italian words. (Italy referring to the beginnings of art in the Renaissance). The scope of this theme becomes clear: from roof to foundation, mountain peak to valley floor, from human head to feet – the body expanded to include perception, feeling and thought – all this subject matter described in one descending movement. At the same time, with a fascination for crossovers, Simon Benson drew a house in the form of a head, or a tree that appeared to be speaking; and he also made an installation entitled ‘An Anthropomorphic Landscape’, with consisted of a series of mdf objects with an block-like architectural appearance, which contained textual references to certain facets of the human form.

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Not just in this conceptual framework -that to this day continues to grow and is still a way to get to know Simon Benson’s work- but individual text works also play a role. For example, ‘Solutio’, ‘Heiliger Platz’, Senza Fiato’, ‘Fluchtpunkt’, ‘Seed’, ‘Cielo’ and others confront you with a greater or lesser degree of
ambiguity, of under- or overstatement – and creates a lot of space for association. Words or letters are sometimes, through a clear yet abstract arrangement, made unreadable. For example, the sixteen letters of the name of the gallery ‘ P H O E B U S R O T T E R D A M ‘ are placed in a grid of four by four letters on the facade of the building in which the gallery in housed. Text as starting point and secret language, a labyrinth to wander around in, a place where you can stand still, think and dream.

That Simon Benson is inspired, on various levels, by the traditions of western art and architecture is discernable in his work. Sometimes it is possible to point out variations on existing images, like in the references to Dürer’s drawings or Botticelli’s, or in the assimilation of architectural drawings of Gothic cathedrals or Le Corbusier’s buildings. As far as sources from literature are concerned, Simon Benson made, in 1999, a series of drawings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and lately he has been inspired by James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, especially by the notion of a varyingly, inward and outward looking subjectivity. ‘Thought Through My Eyes’- eyes open and closed. His work is becoming more and more personal. Image and text, increasingly woven together – something like what you see in a present day source of his: television and computer culture.

The ‘ DO YOU STILL HEAR THE BIRDS SINGING” publication is available at

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Joachim Bandau (1936)

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This German sculptor is from the generation of LeWitt, Andre and Judd, but outside Germany his minimal works are not that well now. Thanks to the gallery PHOEBUS in Rotterdam, he was introduced to the Dutch collectors and a large retrospectibve in 1990 established his name in the low countries.

I love his works…sober, playful and strict at the same time. At auction i almost was lucky enought to acquire a work by Bandau, but a better bid won the item. Perhaps in the future who knows, because i will be following his career, exhibitions and the works at auction. has several bandau items available

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Piet Dirkx weekly

Invitation card for the PHOEBUS exhibition in 2002

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Oval paintings …. rarely seen

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The Oval shape is the less common shape among constructivist, but is was at one time used by some great names in art. Piet Mondriaan used it and also Roy Lichtenstein was a fan and used the shape in his Mirror paintings. Put them beside each other and you will notice similarities between the two. Not only the shape , but also how the space is filled with the composition. I noticed this because a few weeks ago i went to an auction viewing and found the drawings by Henk de Looper for auction. All oval shaped and they really fascinated me.


Here is some information on this forgotten artist who deserves better and is represented by gallery PHOEBUS in Rotterdam.

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Jan Maarten Voskuil (1964) ….Wat een toeval (2009)

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Jan Maarten Voskuil was my personal discovery during the auction of the Klein Breteler collection last month. Immediately that i saw his monochrome “paintings” i got excited. These paintings have a quality which reminded me of a combination of both Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly. Two artist i admire very much and both artists are among the most important ones from last century. That standing is not for Jan Maarten Voskuil yet, but look as his approach to his paintings and the way he prepares the works to reach the ultimate result with the finished work and conclude that it is a question of time that he will be presented as one of the great contemporary minimal painters. These works shine with their simplicity and are in the meantime complex to execute. In every work he uses only one color  to make a monochrome work, but put some together and the result is a multi colored wall with Voskuil works.

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It was my luck that i could purchase one of the works at the Breteler auction. It was the lot. 152 titled “Wat een toeval” from 2009.

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Originally this was made for the LADE PROJEKT of gallery Phoebus and because of the height of the drawers, the dimensions of the work itself were limited, but it still has all the qualities the works of Voskuil contain. A mochrome white surface and assembled from 3 different parts combine into a fascinating painting has no books on Voskuil , but i know that there is one book titled  “Getting to a point” which is well worth reading and to have in your collection of Minimal art books  ISBN. 978-90-811487-3-3

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Otto Egberts and Schaamstreken vol. 1

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The coming blogs on Sunday are all devoted to SCHAAMSTREKEN . a series of artists books by Otto Egberts , all containing original drawings , executed on special papers and bound in goat leather

These Egberts books are very special and deserve to be known by a larger public and will be coming up for sale next year. It would be a pity that these great artist books are only known to a few persons. Therefore i decided to publish all pages of the 4 books in 4 separate blogs on consecutive Sundays starting from now and today is the first volume to be published within this blog series . The SCHAAMSTREKEN 1 book measures 39,3 x 10,9 cm. And contains 34 pages, 15 drawings spread over 2 pages and 2 one page drawings. The end paper has the signature and date on it in pencil. These original drawings were done in color on old Danish maps and nautical charts.

Here is the integral reproduction of volume 1

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A truly magnificent artist book and one of the most spectacular books i have ever owned. For more information on Otto Egberts do not forget to visit his website and other great artist books at