James Beckett (ZA/NL)

7/ 10/ 1977, Harare, Zimbabwe
Currently lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands


James Beckett’s work in diverse media examines subjects of a historical nature, from the development (and subsequent demise) of European industry, to the more metaphysical aspects of dowsing and voodoo. His constructions favour an obscure and rambling logic, often within a strict formalism reflecting the mechanisms of display. A sometimes-dubious approach to his subject matter entertains the historic as suspended in a state of constant re-interpretation, a portrayal of a world where anomaly and change are fundamentals.


Recent shows include: Now is the Time, Wuzhen; Revolutionize!, Mystetski Arsenal, Kyiv, 1st Riga Biennial; The World is Flat, MCAD, Manila; Witness, 1st Karachi Biennale; Utopia/Dystopia, MAAT, Lisbon; 5th Thessaloniki Biennale; 56th Venice Biennale, Belgian Pavilion. Published Monographs include: TWAAS/Koenig books; Kehrer Verlag.


Beckett was resident at the Rijksakademie (2001-2002) after which he won the Prix de Rome for Art in Public Space. Further residencies includes: ISCP, NYC (upcoming); FLACC, Genk; Wysing, Cambridge; Centre International Des Recollets, Paris. His works are in the public collections of: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Centre Pompidou, Paris, amongst others.

James Beckett (ZA/NL)

7/ 10/ 1977, Harare, Zimbabwe

Currently lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Education/ Residency:

2019: ISCP, NYC, US

2018: FLACC, Genk, BE

2013 Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK


2009 Kunstlerhauser Worpswede, Sound residency, DE

2008 International Residence, Récollets, Paris, FR

2001-2002 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL

1996-1999 Technikon Natal, BAFA (degree), Durban, ZA



2003 Winner Prix de Rome, Art and Public Space, NL

1999 Emma-Smith scholarship, Durban, ZA


Public Collections:

Centre Pompidou, Paris FR

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL


Solo exhibition (selection):

2020 ‘The Sceptical Structures of Max’, T293, Rome, IT

2019 ‘The Sceptical Structures of Max’, Cityscapes, Amsterdam, NL

2019 ‘Strange Glow’, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2017 ‘Cray Extensions’, Wilfried Lenz, Rotterdam, NL

2016 ‘Guinness Curse’, T293, Rome, IT

2016 Hospice: Collaboration with Artun Arasli, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam

2015 Hospice: Collaboration with Artun Arasli, Markus Luettgen Gallery, Koln, DE

2014 ‘KaVo Zahnarztstuhl Regie 1520 A’, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2014 ‘Dowsing Schools’, Artspace, Aukland/ Physics Room, Christchurch, NZ

2014 ‘Forced readings’, Lookout, Aldeburgh, UK

2013 ‘Passionate Advocate for a Poisoned Earth’, TWAAS, New York, US

2013 That’s That, That Way ‘Round, Basically -, Coffrefort, Brussels, BE

2012 ‘Of Animal and Inventory’, Blank Projects, Cape Town, ZA

2012 Door and Milk Permutations, Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin, DE

2011 My Friend Andre’s Grandmother’s Sawmill, Neuer Kunstverein, Vienna, AT

2011 Khevsurvite Derivative (potential dwellers in ravines), T293, Rome, IT

2010 Pairs and Stacks, Hilversum Museum, Hilversum, NL

2010 Zaklady na Zycie (Plant-Life): Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2009 Bagnoli and Italsider (as extract-arrangement): T293, Naples, IT

2008 Limburgerhof (the agricultural extract-arrangements), Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2008 Dalmine (and other industry extract-arrangements), Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin, DE

2008 Spade Scrapes 1-6, Van Zijll Langhout expositities, Amsterdam, NL

2007 Living Registration, T293, Naples, IT

2006 Living Registration, Bürofriedrich, Berlin, DE

2006 Untitled Cut-up, Natal Society of Arts, Durban, ZA

2003 Climb on Shoulders to Peep Over and Dismount with Lips in Hedge,

NICC at the Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, BE

2002 Extract-Arrangements, PLUS Gallery, Düsseldorf, DE

1999 Home, Natal Society of Arts, Durban, ZA

1999 Breathing Space, The Yard, B/W Photography, London, UK

1999 Breathing Space, Natal Society of Arts/ Palmer street studios, Durban, ZA


Group Exhibition/ (selection):

2020 Spatial Bias, Lesage, Auderghem, BE

2019 Now is the Time, Wuzhen, CN

2018 The Assassination of Leon Trotsky, David Lewis Gallery, NYC, US

2018 Revolutionize!, Mystetski Arsenal, Kyiv, UA

2018 1st Riga Biennial, Riga, LV

2017 The World is Flat, MCAD, Manila, PH

2017 1st Karachi Biennial, PK

2017 Survival Guide, Art Gallery of Alberta, CA

2017 Utopia/Dystopia, MAAT, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology Lisbon, PT

2017 Structured Frustrations, Isfahan, IRN

2015 56th Venice Bienalle, Belgium Pavilion, IT

2015 5th Thessaloniki Bienalle, Thessaloniki, GR

2014 Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid, ES

2013 Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Scenographies, NL

2013 Der Steirische Herbst, Liquid Assets, Graz, AT

2013 De Hallen, Dread, Haarlem, NL

2013 De Appel, Amsterdam, Artificial Amsterdam, NL

2013 Celluloid Brushes, Ludlow 38, NYC

2012 ‘to scrap a proportion’, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam

2012 Beyond Imagination, Stedelijk Museum, Amstedam, NL

2012 When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis, San Fransisco, USA

2012 Dak’art, African Biennale, Dakar, SG

2011 Section Folklorique, Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, NL

2011 La Fabrique Sonore, Domain Pommery, Reims, FR

2011 Civic Virtue, Stadtgallerie Villa Dessauer, Bamberg, DE

2011 XV Unidentified Species, Galleria Boavista, Lisbon, PT

2011 New Existentialism, Part 2, ALTEFABRIK, Rapperswil-Jona, CH

2010 Metmorphosis, Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, NL

2010 Doodgewoon, Hilversum Museum, Hilversum, NL

2010 Tutta la memoria del mondo, GAM, Turin, IT

2009 Not created by a Human Hand, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2009 Faux Frères, Galerie In Situ, Aalst, BE

2009 Straat van Scuptuuren, CBK, Biljmer, Amsterdam, NL

2008 Spades Scrapes 1-6, Romanian Biennial of Young Artists, Bucharest, RO

2008 For the First and the Second Time, CAC, Vilnius, LT

2007 Between Thought and Sound, The Kitchen, New York, US

2007 Sites and Traces, Universal Studios/ Boers-Li, Beijing, CN

2007 Museum of Noise, with Mark Bain at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, DE

2007 Return of the Gastarbeiter, Kucevo, YU

2006 Vacuum 2, Façade piece for VHDG, Leeuwarden, NL

2005 Map to Sine, at Adam, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, NL

2005 Radio Days, four radio programs at De Appel, Amsterdam, NL

2005 Pioneer, (premiere screening of) Dutch Open, De Balie, Amsterdam, NL

2005 Low Tech, Arte Arti Et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NL

2004 Hit and Run, Platform Garanti and Smart Project Space, Istanbul, TR

2004 Values, 11th Serbian Biennale Visual Arts, Pancevo, YU

2004 City/Object Observation, Nanjing Art Institute, with DAI, Nanjing, CN

2003 Vacuum, Opkomst Yaarbeurs, Utrecht, NL

2003 A Partial Museum of Noise, Prix de Rome, Gem Museum Art, Den Haag, NL

2003 Death Emmaus-Ölberg-Gemeinde, Berlin, DE

2002 Rendevous, Centre for Contemporary European Art, Xiamen, CN

2002 Documenta 11, collaboration with Narcisse Tordoir/ Meschac Gaba, Kassel, DE

2002 Bessengue City, temporary radio station, Doula, CM

2002 Filiale Afrika, Spar Kassa, Düsseldorf, DE

2002 Noise of Coincidence, Cucosa Contemporary Art Space, Rotterdam, NL

2002 A Haunted house of Art, Outline Project Space, Amsterdam, NL

2001 Home Made, Stichting V/H de Gemeente, Leeuwarden, NL

2001 Karl Hofer Society, with Khwezi Gule and Robin Rhode, Berlin, DE

2001 CLICK, Centre Soeleil d’Afrique, Bamako, ML

2001 Adrift, Las Palmas, Rotterdam, NL

2000 Pulse, NSA, Rijksakademie R.A.I.N., Durban, ZA

1999 Graduates of Natal Tech., Civic Centre, Johannesburg, ZA

1998 Black and Blue, Palmer Street Studios, Durban, ZA

1997 ‘Stel Hotten Totten Ten Ten Toon’, with Sandberg Institute, Bat Centre, Durban ZA


Concert/ Performance/ Workshops

2009 Calling out of Context, three concerts of Beckett, ICA, London, GB

2009 Pecha Kucha, Architecture Biennale, NAI, Rotterdam, NL

2007 Circalles, Stage and Light with Martijn Tellinga, Huis ad Werf, Utrecht, NL

2006 Lucier in Taiwan, concept and leader of sound workshop, Taipei, TW

2006 Loss of meaning in Language, Delft Architecture Dept. Delft, NL

2005 Practicum 05a/06a, Nadine Project Space, Brussels, BE

2004 City/Object Observation, Nanjing University, lecture /sound work shop, Nanjing, CN

2003 Schoenberg /Gamelan imposition, concert, Baby, Amsterdam, NL

2003 Fridge, Lost and Found, concert, Amsterdam, NL

2003 Netherlands Architecture Institute, concert, Rotterdam, NL

2002 International Art practice, seminar, Alliance Francais, Yaoudé, CM

2002 Monoculture, Stubnitz.nl/NDSM-WERF, concert, Amsterdam, NL

2002 Mantra for Motors, concert, Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, NL

2002 Muntplein, concert, Muntplein, Amsterdam, NL

1999 Salt, performance, National Art Gallery, Durban, ZA



2017 – present – B.E.A.R, Bachelor Fine Art Artez, Tutor, Arnhem

2016 – 2019: Sandberg Masters program, Fine Art, Amsterdam, External moderator /guest tutor

2015 – 2016: Master/Apprentice – “Day of the Young Artist”, De Pont museum, Tilburg,

2015 – 2016: Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Master Artistic Research, Guest tutor

2015 – Het Instituut, Amsterdam, Guest tutor

2013 – 2016: Rietveld Akademie, Amsterdam, Guest lecturer/tutor

2003 – 2007: Dutch Art Institute, Masters Program, Enschede, Guest tutor/lecturer/workshops


Curated Exhibitions

2013 ‘to scrap a proportion’, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, NL

2012 This Mortal Coil, at the Taut and Tame, Berlin, DE

2007 Here as the Centre of the World, in collaboration with the Dutch Art institute,

50 artists from: The Netherlands, Turkey, Taiwan, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan, Enschede, NL

2007 Sirens, an evolution from water, through water, to water, 66-East, Amsterdam, NL

2006 Lucier in Taiwan, Artists from the Netherlands and Taiwan, Taipei, TW

1997 Thirty Seven Songs, 37 local artists, Durban, ZA



2013 Monograph: “work of James Beckett, with constant interjections by Frank Key”

2009 Monograph: James Beckett 1998- 2008, DE

2009 Transcriptons 1-6, James Beckett, DE

2007 Museum of Noise, Mark Bain and James Beckett, Köln, DE

2007 A-for Alibi, Uqbar foundation, De Appel, Amsterdam, NL

2007 Sirens, Catalogue of the exhibition, Amsterdam, NL

2005 Radiodays, Stichtung De Appel, Amsterdam, NL

2005 Open, SKOR, Amsterdam Amsterdam, NL

2004 Hit and Run, Smart projects in Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey

2004 Values, Catalogue, 11th Serbian Bianale Pancevo, Serbia

2004 Very Real Time, initiation of Gregg Smith, RAIN, Cape Town, ZA

2003 A Partial Museum of Noise, Catalogue 06, initiation of Will Holder, Amsterdam, NL

2003 Prix de Rome, Sculpture, Art and Public Space, catalogue Amsterdam, NL

2001 Home Made, Stichting V/H de Gemeente, Leeuwarden, NL

2000 Pulse, initiation of Greg Streak, RAIN, Durban, ZA


Articles/ Review (Selection)

2018 interview, ‘Dream Big, See it Fail, Repeat’ – artterritory.com

2018 review mention, ‘Mystetskyi Arsenal’ – eflux.com

2017 review mention, ‘Ceci N’est’ – The Wall Street Journal

2018 interview, CCQ magazine

2015 review, ‘pavilion reveals “civil” future’ – Macao Times

2015 review, Venice Biennial, Mousse Magazine

2015 review, Venice Biennial, Metropolis M, Magazine

2013 review mention, ‘A Light Hand’ – New York Times

2011 review, History Maker, Metropolis-M, Alexander Mayhew

2008 review, Dalmine, Art-Review, Astrid Mania, International

2008 review, Limburgerhof, Kunstbeeld, NL

2007 review, Living Registration, Art Forum, Eugineo Viola, IT

2006 review, Living Registration, Vonhundert Berlin, Astrid Mania, DE

2006 review, Living Registration, Zitty, city guide Berlin, DE

2006 review, Museum of Noise, Roland Schappert Kunst forum, DE

2006 review, Nebenwirkungen, Koelischer Rundschau, DE

2006 review, Das Brummen von 220 Volt, Koelner Stadanzeiger, DE

2006 review, Hiding in plain View, Mail and Guardian, Alex Sudheim, ZA

2006 review, Untitled Cut-up, artthrob, Dean Henning, ZA

2003 article, Prix De Rome, Ina Boiten, Art and Public Space, NL

2003 articles, Mark Kremer and Ansuya Blom, NICC, Antwerp, BE

2003 review, Beeldende Beckett, Scherpa, Daily Paper, Antwerpen, BE