Why Paintings Work

Why Paintings Work Book Launch + Exhibition

12 JULY – 16 SEPTEMBER 2023

This exhibition presents a curated selection of works by artists who are featured in the newly released book Why Paintings Work by author and curator Jurriaan Benschop

Participating artists: Nikos Aslanidis, David Benforado, Maria Capelo, Béatrice Dreux, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Michael Markwick, Paula Zarina-Zemane, Gerlind Zeilner

“In a painting, it is never just about what is painted, or the idea behind it, but always about how it is done.”

In Why Paintings Work Jurriaan Benschop navigates the diverse landscape of contemporary painting. He introduces the work of dozens of painters, discusses the themes that can be found in their work and keeps asking the question: Why does this painting work? In what ways does it speak to the viewer? He considers both the visible aspects of painting —such as the depicted motif and the application of paint— and the concepts, beliefs and motivations that underlie the canvas.

Why Paintings Work is not just about how we look at paintings, but also about finding a language that suits the art and viewing experience of today.

During the exhibition the curator and some of the artists will be available to discuss works and exchange thoughts on the exhibition. Hours will be announced on the gallery website and on Instagram.

Other artists featured in the book are: Louise Bonnet, Glenn Brown, Peter Doig, Helmut Federle, Beverly Fishman, Elisabeth Frieberg, Victoria Gitman, Veronika Hilger, Martha Jungwirth, Kristi Kongi, Mark Lammert, Rezi van Lankveld, Kerry James Marshall, Lara de Moor, Matthew Metzger, Marc Mulders, Kaido Ole, Jorge Queiroz, Fiona Rae, Daniel Richter, Jessica Stockholder, Marc Trujillo, Anna Tuori, Matthias Weischer.

Jurriaan Benschop is a Dutch writer and curator based in Athens and Berlin. His writings have been published in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail and in exhibition catalogs and artist’s books. Among the exhibitions he curated are A Grammar of Gestures (Kourd Gallery, Athens, 2021), Taking Root (KIT, Düsseldorf, 2019) and A Matter of Touch (Kunsthaus Torstrasse 111, Berlin, 2020). His book Salt in the Wound: Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe was published in 2019.

Why Paintings Work is published by Garret Publications, Helsinki, Dimensions: 200 x 140 x 6 mm / Pages: 284 with 103 illustrations in color / ISBN: 978-952-7222-17-1 /  Distribution Idea Books, Amsterdam / Sales price € 26,-  / The book is available at Kourd Gallery during the exhibition.

Title: “Why Paintings Work”

Artists: Nikos Aslanidis, David Benforado, Maria Capelo, Béatrice Dreux, Andreas Ragnar Kassapis, Michael Markwick, Paula Zarina-Zemane, Gerlind Zeilner

Curator: Jurriaan Benschop

Duration: 12.07 – 16.09.2023

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 12 to 8 pm.

Location: Kourd Gallery, 4 Kassianis & Fanarioton str. Post Code: 114 71.


Nikos Aslanidis

Figure in red, 2015 – 23
Oil on canvas.
90 x 60 cm.

David Benforado

Ant, 2017 – 2023
Oil on linen.
150 x 150 cm.

Maria Capelo

Corgo, 2021
Material: Ink on paper.
Dimensions: 17 x 18 cm.

Beatrice Dreux

Crying Moon, 2020
Acrylic, oil, pastel, glitter on canvas.
220 x 200 cm.

Andreas Ragnar Kassapis

Mother on the phone and counting (2021)
Oil and color pencil on wood.
40 x 50 cm.
Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries.

Michael Markwick

Unyielding Bloom, 2021
Acrylic, sand and collaged fabric on linen.
40 x 35 cm.

Gerlind Zeilner

Pinsel, 2019
Οil on canvas.
40 x 50 cm.

Paula Zarina Zemane

Madonna 2, 2022
Οil on polywood.
50 x 40 cm.


Kourd Gallery, Athens.
2 Kassianis str.

Exhibition hours: Monday to Friday: 12.00 – 20.00 pm.