Johan Deumens Gallery

Martin Brandsma

Weststellingwerf, 1972 (nl)

lives and works in Noordwolde


Martin Brandsma has been observing the Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) for many years. It is a songbird the size of a sparrow with the characteristics of a bird of prey. He wants to enter into the world of the Shrike by virtually dissecting the Shrike in various ways.
Dissecting means to take something apart (with meticulous detail), this is also the principle of collecting.  In the choice of objects he collects the collector sees the combination of extremes displayed together: similarity and difference. In fact a collection is a series of variations on one or more themes.
If you look carefully, you will notice that nothing is the same, that everything has its own identity. What looks at first glance like a series of identical images, appears on closer inspection to contain an abundance of variations. Brandsma sees collecting as an unassuming form of creativity. Through the selection and connection of pieces something new comes into existence, something living. In collecting the artist and the scientist merge into one; it is the starting point of knowledge and experience that can happen both from a Science or an Art perspective. They share common ground with each other and originate from the same keen observation.
Observation is an important aspect of Martin Brandsmas work. The Great Grey Shrike is not only seen as an object of scientific study, but it is also a messenger from elsewhere, a traveller with mystical characteristics and is approached with reverence. Various associated fields are evoked in the work and transformed into image, as in the collections: 'belvedere' and 'excubitor'
A hierarchical relationship exists between the interior and outside worlds of science, in [sharp] contrast to art. There it is up to the maker himself to decide how he sees this relationship. For Brandsma it is exactly the relationship between the reflection of inner and outer worlds that is essential to his practice. Not as one dominant over the other but as the weaving together of two equal components.
What about the object? Where is reality when we look at art? It seems like a universe of subjective experiences. Scientific knowledge, empirically acquired by attentive study with tools and experiments provides knowledge of the object. But the object is problematic. Can we really say something about something distanced from us? After all everything is internalized through language. This is where the possibilities of Brandsmas work lie. 'Identities' and 'T5' are good examples of this; they are both collections that through their unfolding ignore language and they achieve an understanding of reality separated from the written word. It provides observational knowledge of the Great Grey Shrike that is valuable on both an artistic as a scientific level. (text by Martin Brandsma) 



academy minerva for fine arts & design/bachelor fine arts (cum laude)



Muotka . Sign, Groningen . 2014 (solo)

Landgoed Anningahof, Zwolle . 2014 (duo)

zii-prrrih . Gallery Wit, Wageningen . 2014 (duo)

Talking Photography . PRICCA practice, Academy Minerva, Groningen . 2014 (duo)

Prospects & Concepts . Mondriaan Fonds/Art Rotterdam . 2014

World in measurements . Johan Deumens Gallery, Amsterdam . 2014

Forbidden landscape . G.A.N.G., Schaarsbergen . 2013

Invest III research and visualization . Artistic researchers and PHD researchers, Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art, Assen . 2013

Splendid isolation . Johan Deumens Gallery, Amsterdam . 2012

Ernstig geschikt! . Showroom Arnhem (G.A.N.G./Gallery Plaatsmaken), Arnhem . 2012

Inside out/Outside in III . Belvedere Museum, Heerenveen . 2012

identities . Kunstruimte Hiemstra, Oldeberkoop . 2012 (solo)

Best Graduates 2012 . Ronmandos Gallery, Amsterdam . 2012

academy minerva exhibition . silo cibago, groningen . 2012

de keuken van jan steen . rc de ruimte, ijmuiden and kunstvlaai, amsterdam. 2010

wij zijn wezen . rc de ruimte, ijmuiden . 2010

art/book fairs

Unseen . Westergasfabriek/Johan Deumens Gallery, Amsterdam . 2013

CODEX Fair . Richmond, California, USA / Johan Deumens Gallery, Amsterdam . 2013


Bird Festival . Oostvaardersplassen, Lelystad . 2013

Natuur! . BK050, Workplace Visual Arts, Groningen . 2013

Salon Thougts and 88 other possibilities . Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art, Assen . 2012

identities . Landelijke dag SOVON., De Refter, Radboud University Nijmegen . 2012

Year of the Shrikes . SOVON, Stichting Bargerveen and Vogelbescherming Nederland, SBB Bargerveen, Zwartemeer . 2012


Vroege Vogels . Ned 2, Vara, about the project BCP . 2014

Vroege Vogels . Radio 1, Vara, about the project identities . 2012



De Nieuwe Veluwe . zii-prrrih: Vogels nader bekeken, Manon Berendse . 1/14, 2014

Het Vogeljaar . De klapekster: een waakzame slager, Paul van der Poel . 62/1, 2014

Bionieuws . Tussen kunst en klapekster, Bas Leenknegt . 4, 2014

Natuur.orioles . Klapeksters; alle schoonheid op een stokje, Gerald Driessens . 1 : 10-18. 2013

Vogels . in beeld, Martin Brandsma, Nico de Haan . 5: 18-19, 2012

Friesch Dagblad . Klapekster brengt wetenschap met een persoonlijk onderzoek samen, Marije Bouman . 2012

Trouw (supplement de verdieping) . Elke klapekster zijn eigen portret, Rob Buiter . 2012

Leeuwarder Courant (supplement Freed) . Klapeksterobservaties, Harald Klinkenberg . 2012



Catalogus Prospects & Concepts, Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam . 2014

Vogels, in beeld, about the project identities in collaboration with nico de haan . 2012

Catalogus Inside out/Outside in, Belvedere Museum, Heerenveen . 2012

Catalogus Graduation, Academy Minerva, Groningen . 201


Ronmandos Young Blood Award . 2012



Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, 2013/2014

Starters Stipend, Mondriaan Fonds . 2012



Chelsea College of Art, London

Musée Georges Centre Pompidou, Paris

MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, New York

NYPL, New York Public Library, New York

Triodos Bank, Zeist

Collection Pieter en Marieke Sanders, Haarlem

Collection John Snijders, Amsterdam

Collection Marinus Augustijn, Groningen



sibylle eimermacher, 5uur wordpress, ernstig geschikt!, 25 october 2012 >here

daan van tricht, mr motley, optimale prikkeling, october 11th 2012 >here

vibeke mascini, mr. motley, best of graduates ron mandos 2012, augustus 22nd 2012 >here

mr. motley, eindexamens 2012, july 2nd 2012 >here


text Dick Hillenius

On the principles of collecting, on systematics

As soon as I see ten related types irrespective of which plant or animal group they belong to, a sense is awakened in me: the one relating to connection and differences. It is mostly a pleasure in the abstract. I can barely give it words, and I can certainly not say why this fascinates me so much.

Collecting is something more than simply systematics, although there parallels particularly with collectors of systematic groups. However I see collectors of books and prints as people