For years Martin Brandsma has been observing the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), a songbird the size of a starling but with characteristics of a bird of prey. Brandsma enters the world of the great grey shrike by ‘dissecting’ information about the bird in various ways. Dissecting, taking something apart, is related to collecting. Setting up a collection, where the emphasis is on both the similarities and differences between the elements collected, is like building a series of variations on a theme. For Brandsma collecting is a creative process: by selecting and connecting related information, something new is created, something living. Scientific knowledge starts with collecting observations. Such knowledge is usually recorded in the form of language. By ignoring language and capturing observations in images, Brandsma comes up with new knowledge about the great grey shrike, which is of artistic as well as scientific importance.
Brandsma graduated with honours from the Minerva Art Academy in 2012. In 2013 he received a grant from the Mondriaan Fund and in 2014 he was sponsored by the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. His work has been acquired by Triodos Bank (Zeist), MoMA (New York), the Chelsea College of Art & Design (London), the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the New York Public Library and important private collectors.