Jameszoo x Philip Akkerman Play "Telephone" @ Nest, The Hague
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This autumn, Nest presents the duo exhibition Telephone, featuring the work of painter Philip Akkerman and musician Jameszoo (Mitchel van Dinther). More than 350 self-portraits by Akkerman seek to connect with Jameszoo’s self-playing pianos, synthesisers and musical compositions resulting in a surrealist choreography. The exhibition at Nest shows an extraordinary collaboration and friendship between two artists who understand the core of their medium beyond anything else.
Both Philip Akkerman and Jameszoo are the type of artists who spend countless hours in their studios, resulting in a huge body of work and archive. Both work with precision, and at the same time there is a strong unfiltered character to their compositions. In recent years, Jameszoo has sparked a craze at home and abroad with his completely unique electronic jazz sound, balancing between technical ingenuity and madness. The Hague based artist Philip Akkerman has bounded himself to painting self-portraits for over 40 years, resulting in more than 4,500 self-portraits. It is a restriction that leads to freedom, as it allows him to experiment endlessly. Telephone aims to depict how two seemingly different makers, from different generations, with different materials and methods, can inspire each other to explore new artistic paths.
In 2015, van Dinther writes an email to Akkerman asking him to paint an LP cover for his debut album. He is impressed by the artist’s bizarre self-portraits and artistic attitude, having seen Akkerman’s work in a museum. Akkerman does not know the young jazz musician then, but is a great admirer from the moment Jameszoo’s music resounds from his speakers. It marks the beginning of a series of collaborations and a remarkable friendship. Since then, Akkerman has painted several LP covers for Jameszoo and, vice versa, Jameszoo composed the piece ‘Philip’ (on his latest album ‘Blind’), which was accompanied by a hallucinatory music video featuring a selection of roughly 4,000 self-portraits of Akkerman passing in four-and-a-half minutes. Jameszoo also created a graphic score for Akkerman’s latest release and Akkerman painted a set of tarot cards for ‘Blind’.
With Telephone, Nest shows a unique collaboration. In three rooms, the artists take you through a surrealistic choreography, in which more than 350 self-portraits by Akkerman seek the connection with self-playing pianos, synthesisers and music compositions by Jameszoo in collaboration with researcher Jan Van Balen. Design and production studio Ruimtetijd and Paul van Twist handle the technical production of these immersive installations. Not a single day in the exhibition is the same: the pianos have a self-learning ability and adapt the composition to what has taken place before. Starting point of the months-long composition is the song ‘Philip’, which gradually takes on a life of its own. A ‘game of Telephone’, or a translation of a translation of a translation of a symbiotic work.