Art Cologne

16 Nov 2022 - 20 Nov 2022

For the Collaborations section of Art Cologne 2022 Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present a transhistorical dialogue between Dutch artists Paul Beumer (1982) and Willem Hussem (1900-1974). 

What connects these two artists from different eras is their fascination for nature and landscape, which they both turn into an abstract and colourful visual language.

Their approach towards the medium may be different, but both Beumer and Hussem can considered to be painters. While Willem Hussem deployed the more traditional medium of oil on canvas, Paul Beumer uses a more experimental approach by applying kimono linings to the canvas. 

For this presentation Beumer made a selection of quite dense works by Hussem to counterbalance the minimalist and evanescent feel of his own canvases. He also chose to partly paint the walls of the booth in a muddy brownish tone. The juxtaposition of both artists’ works reveals unexpected similarities in colours and forms and creates an intriguing harmony, which reaches out across the boundaries of time.

Paul Beumer is interested in researching the history and usage of fabrics and fibres within non-western cultures. To study these textile traditions he travels to far-flung places outside of Europe. For the past years Beumer has been living and working in China, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. He currently resides in India.

For the series of works presented at Art Cologne he has made use of kimonos, the traditional dress of Japan. These garments are still worn in formal ceremonies such as weddings, graduations and funerals: life events where an important transformation is celebrated. However, Beumer does not focus his attention on the decorative, elaborate and symbolic designs on the outside, but instead looks inside at the humble linings, which sometimes happen to have a monochrome strip along the borders. He collects these to create assemblages that continue his interest in the composition of a landscape, but which at the same time show beautiful parts of a garment that are normally hidden from view and only known to the owner, who wears the soft textile close to the skin. The works therefore not only reference a natural landscape but also the sensual lines of a bodily landscape. As the secondhand kimonos have been (visibly) used and worn, the works also interweave many unknown personal histories, creating both a choir of colours and of voices.

Paul Beumer (1982) received his BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague after which he completed a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include ‘As long as you know I am waiting, take your time flowers of the spring’ at GAM in Mexico City,  ‘Frequently the woods are pink’ at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, ‘CONDO Mexico City’ at Proyecto Paralelo in Mexico City, ‘Paul Beumer & Willem Hussem’ at Museum Jan Cunen in Oss, ’New Seeds’ at 16by16 in Lagos, Nigeria, ‘Paint Wide Mouth White’ at Qingyun International Art Centre in Beijing, China. He participated in major group exhibitions at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden, Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, Museum Kranenburgh in Bergen, Museum De Paviljoens in Almere and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, The Netherlands. Work by Beumer is held in private and public collections, including the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam; The Academic Medical Centre Art Collection, Amsterdam; the collection of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague; the Collection of the District Court of Law, Amsterdam; the Rattan Chadha Collection, Voorschoten, Netherlands.

Willem Hussem (1900-1974) was a renowned Dutch artist and poet who continually experimented and produced highly diverse works of art, including painting, drawing and sculpture. A constant aspiration towards simplicity and purity underlies his entire oeuvre. This aspiration is closely connected with his need for clear systems of thought. It was in Hegel’s philosophy and Zen Bhuddism that he found the intellectual basis for the universalistic outlook on the world that would determine his thought and work. 

Throughout his life Hussem was in search of a manner of working that tied in with his philosophical views. In poetry, he found this in short lyrics, while in art he initially found it in a style that steered a middle path between expressionism and constructivism, and finally in geometrical abstraction. 

In 1960 Willem Hussem represented The Netherlands at the Venice Biennial. During his lifetime he had solo exhibitions at Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag, Museum Het Princessehof in Leeuwarden and Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam and participated in major group exhibitions in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He also exhibited twice at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, US. 

After Hussem’s death in 1974, the ‘Hussem Committee’, which consisted of influential artists, art historians and museum directors, kept his legacy alive. Retrospectives were mounted at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, Museum Dordrecht and at Museum Belvedere in Oranjewoud. His work has recently been shown at PS Project Space in Amsterdam, Artissima in Turin, Museum Jan Cunen in Oss and Proyecto Paralelo in Mexico City. In 2021 Dürst Britt & Mayhew mounted a retrospective at Pulchri Studio in The Hague with loans from museums, corporate and private collections.

Willem Hussem’s work is held in many private and public collections, including Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam. 

This presentation is kindly supported by the Mondriaan Fund.


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