Berend Strik’s seventh solo exhibition with Galerie Fons Welters carries the somewhat cryptical title Redefining Realness. Strik could have also called his show ‘displaced in the artworld’, since that is the feeling that creeps up on him when he looks around.
It is too easy to say that that is why an artist likes to withdraw himself in his studio, a place to work and reflect. The artist studio is however a concept which has kept Strik busy 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 photo either made or found by Strik. That image is reworked with coloured thread by embroidering, stitching and appliquéing with velvet and transparent fabric. In that way Strik can add an extra layer to the photo and therewith work, so to speak, in the photographic space. Aspects that intrigue Strik are emphasized by the additional layers and clarify his connection with the artists the work is about.
The stitching pierces through the canvas and does not only take part on the surface of the canvas, as a result of this the work has two sides. The front is the studio and the closely related backside shows associations and supporting imagery.
The front of the work Strik made of his visit to Martha Rosler’s studio in Brooklyn shows a beautiful plant in which the light is caught and which adds a poetic layer to the in an intracerebral manner seen Rosler. The back shows about ten images of women. ‘Historical heroines’, according to Strik, ‘with whom he connects Rosler, herself an outspoken feminist’.
These front and backs make comprehensible why Samaras’ quote about a dialogue is only possible due to its two-sidedness.