Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Fredie Beckmans’ interior life

May 7, 2008

Queen's Day with Mom & Dad, Debra Solomon for
Dear Fredie,

On Queen’s Day, we had a party in your house. We overruled Katja, to whom you have been so kind, letting a relative stranger stay in your home while you’re away in Berlin. She just wanted a traditional Queen’s Day, one in which you simply get drunk and slut it up on the streets. I’ll take the blame for the in-house partying. My visiting Californish parents and I forced the door and demanded tea and cakes. Good cakes!

From the interior life of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for
Phallic wallpaper chez Fredie Beckmans

I had always thought you to be some sort of boer. Perhaps it was the fact that at an art fart cooking event back in the 90’s you made polenta in the shape of breasts (and I don’t really like polenta) with raisins as the nipples. COME ON NOW! Or that you let folks use the term food artist when describing you instead of conceptual artist. Maybe it’s just that I happened upon a weaker work, all artists have stronger and weaker works, some flacid shock-value visual joke. Or maybe I saw this work out of context. Probably that.
From the interior life of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for
Is that Chinese viagra on your kitchen wall?

But you were away for some residency in Berlin, and there we were in your home, and Katja serving us tea with a most endearing tea service…

‘Katj, did you bring these with you so that you’d feel at home staying at Fredie B.’s?’

‘Nope. Amazing isn’t it? These are Fredie’s.’

‘These are Fredie Beckmans’ darling tea cups and saucers?’

Worst club ever, Fredie Beckmans
Fredie Beckman’s worst tatoo, image used entirely without permission
Artist, Fredie Beckmans
Fredie Beckmans, former world’s worst artist

With your sausage tattoos and sausage fat dribbling down your chin… that was just for show. Fredie, I was all wrong about you.

From the interior life of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for

Intrigued by the cups and saucers, I proceeded to open up every single cupboard and cabinet in your kitchen and inspect the contents. Not the bedroom, not the bathroom, just the kitchen. What I encountered was rich, loamy… food (!), food-related imagery, paraphernalia, food-related poetry, paintings and drawings, other people’s paintings and drawings of all the foods you had researched in your works.
From the interior life of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for

And hidden everywhere, but also out in the open, were many varieties of potatoes. All sprouting. Pink, purple, brown, black, plain and special weird ones. Like jewels they were cached away in the cupboards, potatoes, potatoes everywhere and not a drop to drink! You even have a pear (Guillaume) that has lived so long next to potatoes that it has also started to look like a potato!

Seriously, years ago you were all about phallic mushrooms and 2 years ago it was all about phallic sausages. You were the effing worst artist in the world. Now it’s all about potatoes. But elevated potatoes, eroticised potatoes and sometimes just naturalised potatoes, sometimes naturalised to the point of becoming a coral reef. And never have I seen stashed hidden treasure potatoes look so exuberant as they did in your interior - and I mean that with all the love in the world and as a woman who eschews carbohydrates (at least in their solid form).

As more and more guests trickled in, and with the kitchen filled to brimming, the tea and cakes turned into organic prosecco and jointjes (sorry for smoking in your house) and the dancing folk spilled out into the library where we rifled through your bookshelves and music collection. And how we danced our asses off, 3 generations worth, one still in the womb. (By the time you read this, it is likely that he will have been born.) We danced with the ones who taught me how to dance, and in between the dancing we looked at your wonderful collection of books.

from the library of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for
Ex libris Fredie Beckmans

What an impressive library you have, dear Fredie, the above composition in no way representative. The well thumbed selection of books on food, philosophy and the philosophy of the senses and sensing is nothing short of jealous-making. You should offer house tours, or at least publish the subject-based bibliographies as a performance in this potato period. Yours is a much more evocative portrait of you and your work than say, my home…

I had misjudged you all these years and I’m sorry for this. Also sorry for going through your stuff, it was just so interesting that I couldn’t stop and I’m truly thankful for the peek.

Good luck with your potato show in Berlin. Please send me the link. All I’ve got is your worst.

Warm regards,


From the interior life of Fredie Beckmans, Debra Solomon for

debra at 19:16 | | post to


  1. Hi Debra,
    whatever the content, positive or negative, I find it not amusing to read about Fredie Beckmans’ interior life without Fredie knowing. How would you feel if someone entered your house while you were not there and wrote an article about his/her visit? It’s like peeping through the keyhole, voyeurisme. And I doubt whether Fredie will like the this violation of his private space.


    Comment by Karin — May 7, 2008 @ 23:42

  2. Hi Karin,

    So sorry you don\’t find the entry on Fredie amusing, for that was at least one of my intentions and certainly not at Fredie\’s expense. I wrote Fredie yesterday explaining and to ask him and I can always pull the entry if he also finds this entry UNamusing. For the time being I\’ve chosen to leave it because I don\’t believe it to be negative, and whether the ad hoc party was appropriate or not is beside the point. There was some poetic license as to the amount of people actually present anyway. I mean, I even mentioned a fetus!

    Plus we toasted Fredie on multiple occasions.

    Warm regards,


    Comment by debra — May 8, 2008 @ 6:20

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