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Ben Augustus (1960)

Having gazed intensively at the images in nude magazines, Ben brings his pen to paper and slowly but surely fills the page with drawings of these women. His manner of working is remarkable; starting a drawing in one corner slowly making his way to the other. Ben ignores all the laws and rules of composition, lines start and stop erratically.  In-between the figures he places apparently arbitrary texts and sex line telephone numbers.

When Ben started in 1994 he was desperately in search of subject matter. We introduced him to new techniques and materials, confronted him with art history and visited numerous galleries.

 

In 1995, during a working week in Zeeland, we worked on the theme of "the elements" (earth, air, water and fire). Ben really struggled to understand what we were trying to achieve with this. Ben was born with Down's syndrome and deafness. Due to this he never learnt to talk properly which makes it very difficult to communicate with him. One evening, when everyone was watching TV, Ben found an old well-thumbed Playboy, he grabbed his sketch book and started drawing the women so that he could take them home with him. Since then, it is the only theme which fascinates him and which constantly recurs in his drawings and paintings.

 

Ben's working methods have changed in the past few years. In the beginning, he cut pieces out of his drawings and stuck them on new paper, sometimes coloured in with pencil. Countless pages were attentively filled with his drawings. Later Ben also started painting in primary colours and directly out of the pot.

 

A keen fan of the Rotterdam football club Feyenoord, he often appears in the club's football kit at work. During the holidays he visits amusement parks (such as Disney World, Movie World and the Efteling). He never misses the Dutch soap "Goede tijden slechte tijden" ("good times, bad times") on the television. All these subjects regularly appear in Ben's drawings.

 

In 2003 Ben contributed to the cartoon "Pretty Lady" in Fantoche" International Animation Film Festival, Baden, Switzerland.

 

Exhibitions

1997  Museum of visionary Art, Baltimore, USA

1998  "Aubes'98", Gallery des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux, France

1998  Cultural capital '98 workshop en exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden

1998  The Universal Print Show, Glasgow, England. 1999 Creahm, Liège, Belgium

2000  "Tekeningen Manifestatie 2000" (drawings), Rotterdam

2000  MAD-Attack, Museé d'Art Differencié, Liège, Belgium

2001  VRC Summer School, University of Dundee, Scotland

2002  "Buiten Zinnen" (Out of Senses), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

2002  "Die Welt: Innen Nach Aussen", Hamburg, Germany

2003  Outsider Art Fair, New York, USA

2003  "Fantoche" International Animation Film Festival, participated with the cartoon "Pretty lady" 2001, Baden, Switzerland

2004  Museé de la Création Franche, Bégles, France

2004  Outsider Art Stockholm, Gallery INUTI, Stockholm, Sweden

2004  Art Institute, Chicago, USA

2005  Outsider Art, INUTI, Luna Kulturhus, Södertälje, Sweden.

2004  Outsider Art Fair, New York, USA

2004  Outsider Art Show, Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2004  "Folly Drawings", Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2006  Jubilee exhibition 15 years Herenplaats, Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam.

2006  "INUTI", Stockholm, Sweden

2007  "World of Herenplaats, Streetart meets Herenplaats", Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2007  "Heroes of Herenplaats", Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2008  Exhibition in Niki Kurabu, Tokyo, Japan

2008  Exhibition in Espacio Liquido, Jovellanos and El Helvedero, Gijon, Spaine

2009  Outsider Art Fair, New York, USA

2009  GAIA museum, Denmark, "The art of sex, love and eroticism"

2009  Exhibition Gallery Kempro, "models", Sterksel,

2009  "Outsider Art", Galerie De Compagnie, Dordrecht

2009  Rackstadtmusee, Arvika, Sweden, Outsider Art Biennale, "Art surrounded by legends and wilderness"

2010  "Outsider Art Fair", New York, USA

2010  "Outsider Art Salon", Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2011  Novo, Groningen

2011  Down Here, Down Under, Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam

2011  Aix Les Bains, France

2011  "Museum of Everything 4", London, U.K.

2011  "Special Pécs", Hungary

2012  Gallery 23, Giessen, Germany

2012  Gallery Alte Turnhalle, Bad Dürkheim, Germany

2013  Madmusée, Liège, Belgium

2013  GROOS, Schieblock, Schiekade, Rotterdam

2013  La Brut, Rotterdam
Museum collections

Art works of Ben is bought for the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switserland

Also work included in the Max E. Ammann collection, Switzerland
Catalogues

1998  "Aubes'98", Bordeaux, France

1998  "Änglar", Stockholm, Sweden

1998  "Zonder Omweg 2", Singer Museum, Laren

2000  "Tekeningen Manifestatie 2000", Rotterdam. 2001 "Madness", Rotterdam

2002  "Folly Drawings", history over the Outsider art by Frits Groner