Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam

Redefining Realness

With one person, there’s lecturing, but with two characters, there’s a dialogue—immediately there’s a confrontation between the two. – Lucas Samaras, Interview Magazine, 26 February 2009

Berend Strik’s seventh solo exhibition with Galerie Fons Welters carries the somewhat cryptical title Redefining Realness. Strik could equally have called his show ‘displaced in the artworld’, since that is the feeling encroaching on him when he looks around.

It would be too easy to say that the artist prefers to withdraw into his studio, a place to work and reflect, for such reason. Yet the artist studio has been a prominent subject which has occupied Strik for several years now. The relation between the creative space and the aesthetic views of well- and lesser-known artists form the subject of a series of works taking as a starting point a photograph either made or found by Strik. These images are reworked with coloured thread by embroidering, stitching and appliquéing with velvet and transparent fabric. In this way Strik adds an extra layer to the photograph and obtains access to work, so to speak, in the photographic space. Aspects that intrigue Strik are emphasized by these additional layers and clarify his connection with the artists, subject to the respective works.

The stitchings pierce through the canvas and do not only become part of the surface of the canvas, they result in the work gaining two sides. The front of these works shows the studio while the closely related back of each work elaborates on associations and supporting imagery.

Strik’s work made after his visit to Martha Rosler’s studio in Brooklyn for example shows a splendid plant in which light seems caught, adding a poetic layer to the cerebral impression Rosler instills. It’s back shows about ten images of women. ‘Historical heroines’ according to Strik, ‘with whom he connects Rosler, herself an outspoken feminist’.

These fronts and backs (seem to) embody Samaras’ quote about why a dialogue is only possible due to the implicit two-sidedness of such event/matter.

The opening of the exhibtion is part of the Amsterdam Art Weekend (24-27 November).

Special events at the gallery during Amsterdam Art Weekend:
Saturday 26 November
Guided tour with Berend Strik