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Hans van Bentem, Selfportraits

During Art The Hague Escher in the Palace is showing two sculptures by Hans van Bentem, an artist who is inextricably linked to the museum. Since it opened, its rooms have been graced by his huge chandeliers in a whole range of forms, including a skull, a bomb and a spider. The glittering crystal enhances the majestic feel of the palace, and lightheartedly reflect the fantasy element in the work of Escher.

Hans van Bentem, Self-Portrait (CAESAR), 2018
Hans van Bentem, Self-Portrait (GIRL), 2012

In his SELF-PORTRAITS series, Van Bentem adopts various characters, including a clown, a dictator, a little girl and a Roman emperor, exploring the extent to which he is taken over by the character, and how much of his own personality remains. Thanks to these transformations, the portraits not only reflect Van Bentem himself, but also his audience, who are prompted to consider how overbearing they are, and to what extent their own identity is obscured by them. Van Bentem’s distinctive blue eyes are recognisable in all the images, however, playfully provoking his viewers, as if inviting them to step into the character themselves.

The two sculptures of a girl and Caesar will be on display from 4 to 9 October in connection with Art The Hague, which has named Hans van Bentem ‘icon of Art The Hague 2022’. During the art fair, more of his self-portraits will be on display throughout the city, at locations like Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Beelden aan Zee, DDae Spelonk and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KABK).