Berend Strik

13 Jun 2009
18 Jul 2009

Berend Strik appropriates images, ranging from photographs he has made himself or found in family albums to pages torn from magazines. He adds delicate pieces of material and embroidery to the existing image as part of his search for meaning. While the original images are characterised by a certain lack, an indefinite quality, the photographs that have been elaborated in this way are perfected. A context is created and the fruits of the imagination are made tangible.


Palestinian House - Berend Strik


Among the images that Strik has used for his solo exhibition Thixotropy in Galerie Fons Welters are photographs he took during a journey to East Jerusalem and the West Bank of the river Jordan, where he visited a number of Palestinian and Jewish settlements. The resulting works display everyday images with a subtle subtext of tensions.

Palestinian House, for instance, shows a close-up of a house. Several elements attract our attention. Pieces of tulle, in light but vivid colours, cover the branches of the tree in front of the terrace. They look like sheets hung out to dry. Tools, a few stray garden chairs, and plastic crates are strewn about at random. Yet the house behind that spontaneous collection appears to have a clearly defined structure. Although this is a ‘Palestinian House’, its core structure is based on Israeli examples. Starting from this central design, it has gradually been altered in response to requirements and new additions to the family, taking on a new, spontaneous form. There is an additional storey, for instance, and a flight of steps that has been installed outside the house to save space. But the use of material and embroidery fuse the structural and non-structural elements of the building. Architecture provides subtle intimations of a situation in which contrasts abound.

The time-consuming and labour-intensive images of Berend Strik call for attentive reading. The original photograph evokes certain associations, which the additions build on. An intermediate space arises between the support and the elaborations, in which the photograph’s initial meaning is opened up and given a more specific content with extra layers of material and embroidery. This manipulates the formal side of the image. In the intervening space, there is room for associations and memories. Strik’s works constitute a meditation on what a specific image signifies and could signify.


13/06/2009, 17:00 - 19:00
During the opening of the exhibition a new catalogue on Berend Strik's work will be presented: Thixotropy: Transfixed, Stitched Photographs. Published by Valiz with Galerie Fons Welters; Stephan Simoens Contemporary Fine Art, supported by Fonds BKVB