press release

The Kunsthal Rotterdam proudly presents ‘Akkermania', an exhibition illustrating the infinite variety to be found in the work of Dutch painter Philip Akkerman. In 1981, Akkerman decided to paint self-portraits, and over the last thirty years he has built up an oeuvre of almost three thousand paintings, no two of which are alike. With over four hundred pieces, this exhibition illustrates the incredible diversity of his work. The Kunsthal invited eleven different collectors to present their entire ‘Akkerman Collections' in Akkermania. For the first time ever, visitors will be able to see Akkerman's intriguing oeuvre through the eyes of these collectors.

The Artist's Choice As well as choosing to paint only self-portraits, Philip Akkerman has set himself an increasing number of constraints over the years. He only uses three formats for his portraits (27x25 cm, 40x34 cm and 50x43 cm), and after several unencumbered years, decided in 1985 to paint exclusively in oils and tempera on prepared panels using the techniques of the Old Masters. These fixed rules provide the artist with an interesting field of play; once the lines have been drawn, play can begin, because countless questions still remain. In 2007, Akkerman wrote the following to one of the collectors: "(...) The depiction of the skin, the importance of style, the origin and the conclusion of painting, are there any rules, how serious must or may a painting be, the importance of true likeness, of technique, chaos, uncertainty and doubt (...) and much, much more, but most importantly who or what am I?"

Akkermania Many major collections, both in the Netherlands and further afield, include work by Philip Akkerman. The eleven collectors were asked to lend the Kunsthal every one of their Akkerman pieces, and every complete collection tells it own story. One collector buys a single painting every year while another purchases a chronological series in one go. With over 250 paintings, the Caldic Collection comprises the largest number of Akkerman self portraits and supplements their collection with a new painting every year. Other collectors such as Hauser & Wirth choose to purchase a single powerful series of portraits, whilst J. Zondt consistently opts for paintings that are ‘strange' and divergent. Akkermania illustrates the infinite variety in the work of Philip Akkerman as seen through eleven pairs of eyes.

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Philip Akkerman