How come the panel were so keen to select this book about the recent work of a young artist named Tjebbe Beekman? Could it have anything to do with the fact that his work is impressive? The panel are happy to acknowledge that this
cannot be entirely ruled out, but they also stress that they are still concerned not so much with the artist’s work per se as with its presentation in book form. If that’s all right, the art will probably also hit home.
And the presentation is good. To begin with, there’s the format: shorter than A4 and a little on the broad side. The repeating elements in Beekman’s post-industrial landscapes are brought to bear to good effect in this format, mostly full page, sometimes in a double spread bleed, occasionally in a fold-out. At the front of the book, on rough paper, we find the artist’s sketches; at the back, on glossy stock, house paintings. Both sections conclude with a number of detail images at full size.
The one panel member who thought the way the text had been handled was too massive and uninviting failed to persuade the others. The column width guarantees good legibility and the dark grey of the text columns combines particularly well with the sketches. At the back an interview with the artist has been enriched in an original way with between one and three small images per column. Throughout the main part of the book the texts are in Dutch and English. The complete text in German follows at the end, uninterrupted by images but otherwise looking the same as the other languages.
All in all this is a tidily organized book that nicely reinforces Beekman’s first gallery exhibition. See the book and you want to see the work. That is as much a compliment for the book as it is for the work.