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.
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
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
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 Gronert