At first glance, the work of Bas Fontein seems pleasing, but once you look closer, it is actually disruptive. Fontein plays with conventions and public perceptions in the art world. What can you say or do? What not? Which criteria do we use to form our judgment? What do we actually see? Fontein shows that the perception of art is random. Therefore, he questions the viewer, or as Oscar Wilde wrote: “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”

Bas Fontein (Amersfoort, 1978) graduated from the University of Arts Utrecht (Fine Art) and Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (Language & Image). As an artist, he works with photography and text, and he publishes his work under his own label, BASBOEK. He might be best described as an all-round-creative with an enterprising spirit. In addition to his diverse art, Fontein is co-founder of Dutch Independent Art Book Publishers (DIABP) and the Museum voor KOR (Museum for Art in Public Space). Furthermore, he works on a range of different cultural and art projects as a creative director, copywriter, editor, curator, museum guide and also as a teacher Fine Art at the University of Arts Utrecht.

His publication, WHAT TO DO (2012), won two international prizes for best artist book. Yearly, BASBOEKs are presented at international art book fairs in locations like London, Berlin, Paris, L.A. and Tokyo. They are purchased by major museums, such as MoMA in New York, and distributed by Printed Matter, Walther König and Idea Books. Therefore, his publications can be found in museum stores and book shops all over the world.


* January 31st 1978, Amersfoort, The Netherlands

Now/Coming up
April KEEP IT CLEAR!, group show, ACEC, Apeldoorn

2020 Artist as a Toilet Attendant
2019 101 Artists Deleted from Dutch Art History
2019 Abusive Names for Artists, The Dicktionary, 3rd print
2018 Parallel Universe – Dutch coastlines, or other horizons
2017 MIND THE ARTIST – what’s on an artist’s mind
2016 WHAT TO DO / WAT TE DOEN, 4th print
2016 Artist Jokes / Kunstenaarsmoppen, 2nd print
2015 WHAT TO DO / WAT TE DOEN, 3rd print
2015 Abusive Names for Artists, The Dicktionary, 2nd print, first Dutch-English version
2014 Artist Jokes / Kunstenaarsmoppen
2013 Scheldwoordenboek voor Kunstenaars (Curse Word Dictionary for Artists)
2012 WHAT TO DO / WAT TE DOEN, 2nd print
2012 Wandeling door Arnhem (Walk through Arnhem)
2011 Probleem kunst opgelost (Problem Art Solved)
2010 Visdraad
2010 Einmal um die Welt, 2nd print
2009 Last Photos (series of 12 publications)
2009 I just arrived this morning
2008 Noon till noon
2007 Mislukte Ideeën
2006 Er is iets nieuws
2006 Einmal um die Welt
2004 Mijn broers reis in Indonesië
2004 Pocketcamera verkeerd om gehouden
2002 Vanuit Mijn Aquarium
2002 Bas’ Dubbele Boekhouding
2001 Bas als Vriend, een gebruiksaanwijzing
2001 Gedachten zonder CD
1999 Achterkant van Spiegel
1998 Zandkorrels uit Grintpad
1998 Eerste en Tweede Onvolledige Bundel

Presentations (selection)
2019 Los Angeles Art Book Fair, The Geffen, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
2018 Parallel Universe, book launch, LhGWR, The Hague
2017 Living in Dreams, groupshow, De Bond, Brugge, Belgium
2016 New York Art Book Fair, PS1 MOMA, New York, U.S.A.
2015 Friends with Books, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
2014 Winner of the 4th Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize, solo, Sheffield, U.K.
2013 Undercover, groupshow, St. Petersburg, Russia
2013 BASEMENT SALE!, solo exhibition, ACEC, Apeldoorn
2012 Offprint Amsterdam, Westergasfabriek, during Unseen
2012 Problem Art Solved, solo exhibition and book launch 1646, The Hague
2011 Life is heart, group show, P.ART of your life, Zwolle
2011 Photo + Art Book, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany
2010 Flachland festival, performance Daumenkino, Berlin, Germany
2010 Daumenkino – thumbcinema, group show, Bookartbookshop, London
2010 Quickscan, group show, Museum of Photography, Rotterdam
2009 Closer, performance, Meneer de Wit, Amsterdam
2008 A perfect book, group show, Amsterdam Center for Photography, Amsterdam
2008 Noon till Noon, solo exhibition, Rona Mathlener Projecten, Amsterdam
2007 Presentation of Failed Ideas at Lost & Found, de Waag, Amsterdam
2007 Young Land, group show, Anna Paulowna
2007 Solo exhibition and publication Failed Ideas, Dwaze Zaken, Amsterdam
2006 Lachen met KI-OSK, group show, Kunstenlab, Deventer
2006 Space Inside, group show, RC de Ruimte, IJmuiden
2006 Einmal um die Welt, book launch, Boekie Woekie, Amsterdam
2005 Rietveld naar de beurs, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
2004 My brothers trip to Indonesia, solo presentation, Maritime Museum, Amsterdam
2004 Final Frontier, group show, HEDAH, Maastricht
2003 Young Art, group show, Amersfoort
2002 Bas’ Double Book Launch, solo presentation, Vivaria Paludaria and Ulyssus, Amsterdam
2002 Rariteitenkabinet, group show, Moira, Utrecht
2001 Cabinets Of Wishfull Thinking, group show, Retort, Amsterdam
2001 Young Talent, group show, Province House, Utrecht
2001 I just keep playing my bass parts, solo exhibition, Expodium, Utrecht
2000 Mix for Brainpan, duo show, H 408, Amsterdam
1999 Today No Goulashsoup, duo show, Monbijoupark, Berlin
1998 Fresh 2, group show, Academy Gallery, Utrecht

2014 Teaching Degree, University of Arts Utrecht (HKU)
2012 Determination of historical photographic and photomechanical processes,  Leiden University
2003 – 2006 Language and Image, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
2003 Movie, Art and Fashion, University of Amsterdam
1998 – 1999 Exchange student at Art School Weissensee, Berlin
1996 – 1999 Fine Art, Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), Utrecht
1995 – 1996 Illustration, Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), Utrecht

2019 Internationalization grant for DIABP, The Creative Industries Fund NL
2017 Internationalization grant for DIABP, The Creative Industries Fund NL
2016 Internationalization grant for DIABP, The Creative Industries Fund NL
2009 Basis stipend, Mondriaan Fund
2000 Start stipend, Mondriaan Fund

2018 Lecturer Fine Art, Art Academy Utrecht (HKU) (until now)
2013 Photo course ‘Photography starts with looking’, Klein Berlijn, Apeldoorn
2012 Lecturer Photography at Fine Art, Art Academy Utrecht (HKU) (till 2014)
2012 Guest teacher Graphic Design at Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague
2012 Photography teacher at High School Apeldoorn
2011 Guest teacher at Fine Art, Art Academy Utrecht (HKU)

UWE Bristol
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
MACBA, Barcelona
MoMA, New York
Joan Flasch Collection, SAIC, Chicago
Leiden University
Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD)
Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven
Huis Marseille, Amsterdam
Kremlin (advertising company), Amsterdam
Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Utrecht School of Arts (HKU), Utrecht
Dutch Museum of Photography, Rotterdam

2019 Dutch Art with Text & Humor? NO THANKS !, Academiegalerie, Utrecht
2015 OPEN, Museum for Art in Public Space, Apeldoorn
2004 Utrecht Art Fair, Expodium, Utrecht
2003 Disco Salon, Expodium, Utrecht
2002 The Exporette, Expodium, Utrecht
2001 F.C. Expodium, Expodium, Utrecht

Nominations and Prizes
2018 Shortlist Van Reekum Cultuurprijs
2014 Winner of the Fundacio Banc Sabadell with WHAT TO DO, Arts Libris, Barcelona
2013 The 4th Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize, 1st prize for WHAT TO DO
2001 Prix de Rome, photography, nomination, Amsterdam
2001 Tweede Sybren Hellinga Art Prize, nomination, Art House SYB, Beetsterzwaag
1999 Young Talent II, Utrecht

2017 De Stentor about BASBOEK
2016 Mister Motley about WHAT TO DO
2016 De Stentor about Prinsengang
2014 Kunstbeeld about Artist Jokes
2013 De Stentor about my work
2012 De Gelderlander about Walk through Arnhem
2012 kM about Problem Art Solved
2012 Mister Motley about Problem Art Solved
2012 Metropolis M about Problem Art Solved
2012 Kunstbeeld about Problem Art Solved
2011 Frieze magazine about Last Photos
2011 GBK-uitgave centerfold with Problem Art Solved
2011 Flow about Last Photos
2010 NRC Next: for a week every day an image of my photo archive
2010 Kunstbeeld about Last Photos
2010 Focus about Last Photos
2008 De Volkskrant, ‘How do I tell my parents’ by Lernert Engelberts

2016 Co-founder and chairman of DIABP (Dutch Independent Art Book Publishers) (until now)
2016 Artistic Director of Museum for KOR (until now)
2014 HR Advisor at HKU, University of Arts Utrecht (until 2018)
2014 Co-founder, curator, writer and voice-over for Museum for KOR, museum and tour project for art in public space
2014 Creator and organizer of First Art, international art exchange project
2012 Weekly photo blog at Apeldoorn Direct (until 2013)
2010 Picture Editor of the Photo Archive of Woonzorg Nederland (Housing Corporation)
2009 Copywriter at Kesselskramer, Amsterdam
2008 Editor for Tubelight (until 2009)
2007 Publication Einmal um die Welt becomes promotional gift for Woonzorg Nederland
2006 Side-kick in the performance of Klaske Oenema, Lowlands Paradise, Biddinghuizen
2002 Publications part of distribution program Printed Matter, New York (until now)
2000 Designer (and producer) of the Arai Helmet Safety Award (until 2006)