Akkerman Full Frontal
8 September - 9 October 2010
Tuesday 7 September, 6–8pm
Mummery + Schnelle is pleased to announce an exhibition of new
paintings by Philip Akkerman.
In 1981 Philip Akkerman started to paint self-portraits. Since
then he has painted nothing else, a continuous project altered
daily. Over the years there have been many different interpretations
of what this project might mean. Suggestions have been made
that Akkerman is painting himself - a painter - and a painter’s
life; that he is examining the human relationship to art and
reality and the relationship of the individual to the absolute;
that he is making reference to the history of European Humanism,
or to Modernist seriality and the meaning of repetition; that
he is depicting the self as witness to the passing of time,
or the distance that exists between individuals.
While none of these interpretations are invalid, what has become
clearer the longer that Akkerman’s project has continued
is that these are not self-portraits as personal psychological
studies, and he would consider a purely psychoanalytical interpretation
of them as misplaced. He says simply that “I paint myself,
and so I paint the whole of mankind.” Certainly, the more
diverse the portraits become, the more the relationship between
image and object is put to the test.
The format that Akkerman adopts in all the paintings in the
current exhibition is one of facing fully to the front - a variation
from his more characteristic 3⁄4 profile. This gives a
symmetry and formal structure to the paintings’ composition
and presents a more imposing face to the viewer. The styles
in which they are painted are extraordinarily diverse, ranging
from Mannerist painting from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth
century Netherlands to psychedelic graphic designs of the 1960s
and ‘70s. Philip Akkerman’s paintings are remarkable
exercises in variety and invention within a pre-determined format.*.
In his poem Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, John Ashberry
talks of an otherness that gets included in the most ordinary
forms of daily activity, changing everything slightly and profoundly.
This otherness, this “Not-being-us”, is all there
is to look at in the mirror. It is what Philip Akkerman looks
at when he paints himself.Philip Akkerman was born in Vaassen
in The Netherlands in 1957 and now lives and works in The Hague.
Images and full biographical and bibliographical information
about him can be found on here.
* This is well illustrated in the book 2314: Philip Akkerman
2314 Self Portraits 1981 – 2005, which reproduces
every self-portrait Akkerman made between 1981 and the end of
2005. Copies are available from the gallery.
Questions of how to situate in the space of the present references
to the historicity of painting, which are relevant to Philip
Akkerman’s self-portraits, are further addressed in the
next exhibition at Mummery + Schnelle: The Beholder’s
Share, featuring the work of Robert Bordo, Nogah Engler,
Louise Hopkins, Merlin James, Tom LaDuke, Carol Rhodes, Julie
Roberts, David Schutter and Christopher Stevens.
Dates: 13 October – 4 December.
For enquiries, please contact Andrew Mummery at: email@example.com
Back to exhibitions
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The Beholder's Share
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