Ezra Maas: Nothing Is More Real Than Nothing

Hanna ten Doornkaat x Daniel James

9 – 19 June 2022

Private View + Book Signing:
Thursday 9 June  6 – 9 pm

Q&A + Book Discussion & Reading:
in conversation with Dr Daniel Barnes-Binead (FAD)
Saturday 11 June  4 – 6pm


Ezra Maas: Nothing Is More Real Than Nothing by Daniel James
Valley Press


Exhibition Dates

Private View + Book Signing
Thursday 9 June, 6 – 9 pm

Q&A + Discussion – Daniel James in conversation with Daniel Barnes-Binead
Book Reading with Drinks
Saturday 11 June 4 – 6pm

Friday 10th – Sunday 19th June


Hanna ten Doornkaat is a German-born artist who is based in the UK and holds an MA Sculpture from the Wimbledon School of Art. Her work has been exhibited widely in London and across the UK and internationally. She has curated major exhibitions and is a founding member of collaborative artists’ initiative White Noise Projects.

Daniel James is an author and journalist from Newcastle. His debut novel, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas, was recently published in a new special edition format by Valley Press. An arts and culture journalist for a decade, Daniel was a finalist for the Young UK News Writer of the Year award. He left full-time journalism in 2011 to research and write the biography of artist, Ezra Maas, who disappeared at the height of his fame. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas was critically acclaimed on its release and shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. Daniel’s work has appeared in The Times, the Guardian, The Telegraph, the Scotsman, and on BBC Radio 4.

Ezra Maas was a radical and visionary British-born artist who was known for his extreme secrecy, questions surrounding his identity, and his international cult following. Ezra Maas first became famous as a prodigy on the New York art scene in the late 1960s with a series of controversial artworks and installations, which were associated with radical ideas amidst accusations that his happenings induced psychosis, hallucinations, and violence. Maas’s work was often linked to the concept of the artist as shaman. Maas was notoriously reclusive and few photographs of him have ever been published, with rumours about his location and identity circulating since the 1960s and 70s. After many years working in seclusion, Maas disappeared under strange circumstances from his studio mansion in England in 2005 and is presumed dead. All enquiries about Ezra Maas should be directed to The Maas Foundation.


Nothing is More Real Than Nothing’ is a collaboration between artist Hanna ten Doornkaat and writer Daniel James.
The reclusive artist Ezra Maas, who disappeared 17 years ago, is the subject of Daniel James’s postmodern meta-biography.

The special edition book with visual contributions by artist Hanna ten Doornkaat has caught the attention of literary critics in The Times, who describe it as, ‘ambitious, challenging, beautifully designed… a maze of allusion and illusion.’ Booker Prize shortlisted author Graeme Macrae Burnet said the book was ‘a labyrinthine metafictional headf*ck and very possibly the work of a madman.’

The exhibition takes its title from one of the many references hinted at in the multi-layered textual palimpsest of The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas, which features a narrative uniquely constructed from artworks, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, official documents, phone transcripts and emails, to create a literary and artistic labyrinth.

Correspondingly, Hanna ten Doornkaat creates her drawings in many layers, adding and obscuring marks with titles forming the final layer in reference to quotes or ideas that inspired the work. The notion of the line in its relationship to drawing is central to ten Doornkaat’s practice who describes her process as a dialogue between herself and the work. In response to the experience of confinement in recent years, her drawings increasingly push the boundaries of form, surfaces and framing. The conversations that begin between the lines become a colloquy of works assembled into sculptural still lives. Similarly, Daniel’s book blurs the lines between fact and fiction, life and art, as it explores the nature of identity, subjective histories, and self-mythology.

Reclusive artist Ezra Maas, once as famous as Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys, turned his back on fame and vanished without a trace while working on his final masterpiece. His body was never found. Discover the untold truth about the artist’s life between the lines of Daniel James’ words and Hanna ten Doornkaat’s drawings. The exhibition marks the official London launch of The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas special edition from publisher Valley Press. It is the first exhibition associated with Ezra Maas in more than three decades. Members of The Maas Foundation have been invited to attend the London launch, but have, so far, refused to authorise or acknowledge the new exhibition.

For an opportunity to hear more about the truth and fiction that come together in this landmark, definitive edition, come to the private view of ten Doornkaat’s work on Thursday 9 June and join Daniel James for a Q&A and reading on Saturday 11 June. For full details and tickets please contact the gallery. Signed and dedicated copies of the new special edition book are available to pre-order from the gallery and can be collected at the scheduled events.

Hanna’s studio
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