anthon tactiliteit

With a finger to glue


He has a very special and individual way of touching something. His fingers are sculpted for feeling and the fat, spatula shaped fingertips are armed with extra sensory nerves in order to transmit that feeling to the brain and to send it on to his heart or his sex or his voice. I know those fingers from close up and know what they can bring about. Light as a feather and coarsely tangible, a strange and exciting combination.
The fingers of Anthon Beeke are used to investigate, to test paper, to understand ink, to weigh format or to rub plaster of Paris onto pretty girls’ bodies. The fingers choose their own path and often decide where to go before a reason has been found. The tactile designer in Anthon uses these special tools to shape this feeling through image and text, typography and format. You could say he shapes the world to his fingers.
From the start (the wild period, when he made the streets of the big cities unsafe with exciting theatre posters) he has worked in a sensory way with powder, make-up, sand, hair, fur and feathers; the naked object is always clothed with a tactile skin, in order to give the eye a leitmotiv to the soul; the gaze is sucked in through the material. Later, when times change and the street no longer wants to be the stage of his erotic performances, the view is adjusted and it’s as if Anthon’s eyes sink into his fingers, as if vision suddenly moves to his fingertips. Then the period dawns when tactile becomes the leitmotif of the oeuvre and when new techniques such as laser cutting and flock printing make it possible for him to really communicate the feel. New materials turn up to help make idiosyncratic covers for important books, such as a bloody cover for the notorious annual of the Art Directors’ Club, an ironic ode to advertising executives with a butchery metaphor. He used vulgar bling for his famous poster book to seduce the gaze.

But his fascination goes further and grows and is used to discover new fields, to test new photography and explore new macro images. He created idiosyncratic folders for the paper industry in which subject and photo cooperate to communicate the touch of the paper and using human skin to say something about the skin of the document.
As a result of our cooperation in the cult magazines View On Colour and later also Bloom, curiosity is evoked about the tactile nature of yarns, the definition of weaves, the eroticism of lace, the symbolism of embroidery and the lack of restraint in nature. From then on, textile, yarns and tape, flowers, knitting and embroidery help extend his idiom, as is clear in the series of masks that he still realizes for the KunstRai. Every year an important personality from the world of culture is sketched with a mask that wants to say something discretely about the creator behind the disguise.
Ever since the turn of the century, the fingers of Anthon go their own way and mould the significant revival of craftsmanship.

As always – a child of his time.


text Lidewij Edelkoort
photo Anthon Beeke
2013, photographed by Arjan Benning