The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This work by the Dutch artist Ben Akkerman is a square painting which shows a pattern of crisscrossing horizontal and vertical lines. This grid has been applied in light relief. Where the lines cross each other, the relief is strongest. The main colour of the canvas is ochre. The gridlines are bright yellow and just miss the edges of the canvas. The painting is built up, layer upon layer. As a result of the process of adding more and more paint and then partly removing it again, there is a structure in the paint which is different everywhere. The sides of the canvas are painted in the main colour. Where the sides and front touch there is a thick crust of paint.
Akkerman was self-taught and started painting landscapes in the 1940s. Gradually his natural landscapes developed to become cultivated landscapes with polders and dykes, posts and sheds. In these works the emphasis is on the composition. His use of colour was austere and his work became increasingly abstract. In 1973 he first painted a completely abstract painting.
Akkerman’s theme is painting itself, which means that his work can be classified as Fundamental painting. He often painted a shape within a shape. In 'Untitled' (1988-1989) this is expressed in a grid painted within the limits of the canvas. Akkerman also painted the sides of his paintings, giving them an object-like character. In the 1980s Akkerman did a number of works with an octagonal shape which further strengthens the effect of the object.
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