BEREND STRIK: DECIPHER THE ARTIST’S MIND
OCTOBER 30 – DECEMBER 19, 2014
RECEPTION: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 6 – 8 PM
Tilton Gallery is pleased to present Berend Strik’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. Decipher the Artist’s Mind will be on view October 30th – December 19th, 2014. A reception for the artist will be held Thursday, October 30th, from 6 to 8 pm.
Berend Strik’s Decipher the Artist’s Mind is an ongoing project investigating the studios of international contemporary artists. Visiting the studios of artists in Europe, the United States and Indonesia, Strik has photographed the working spaces of both famous and upcoming painters, sculptors and performers. He explores the idea that the artwork within a studio context and even the studio itself acts as a metaphor for the creative process of the making of a work of art.
Strik takes photographs, shot in a straightforward documentary style, often focusing on specific details that help define an aspect of the subject’s work. Strik enlarges and prints these two-dimensional photographs onto Tyvek, and then works the surfaces by sewing colored, tactile fabric by hand into the support to highlight those portions of the image that are important to him, expropriating the subject matter from the artist whose studio and work is portrayed. Strik uses the stitching itself to create tension as it delineates, transforms and augments reality. This layering, the literal process that gives these two-dimensional works depth and richness, also serves metaphorically to add information and personal interpretation and to make these works Strik’s own.
Strik began this project in 2011 when he visited the former Manhattan studio of Marcel Duchamp, where he’d worked in secret from 1945 to 1966 on his last major work, Etant donnes: 1. La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage. What Strik found was a space now used as an office, an architectural space whose changed use nevertheless retained memory, thoughts, ideas and visions. Strik began studying the relationships between creative spaces, aesthetic concepts and the artists themselves as seen through their studios.
This body of work raises a number of questions that revolve around the myth of the artist’s studio, the historically privileged space of artistic creativity. A fascination with artists and their studios is probably as old as the profession itself; the desire to see the “creative genius” at work is a phenomenon of all ages. In the nineteenth century, a new and popular image arose of the artist as a person endowed not only with special talents, but also with a particular temperament and lifestyle, whose work expressed his soul and individuality. One of the consequences of this romantic notion was that not only were the work and the artist seen as one, but the studio too came to be viewed as the mirror and even the embodiment of the artist’s inner self.
It is this impossible promise of a view into the artist’s mind that Strik’s work seeks to explore. On the one hand, the works are documentary: nothing has been arranged for the camera and the studio is as the artist left it. However, for the most part, impersonal working materials or the banal objects of everyday life are what is seen; the art-making process and soul of the artist are invisible, and yet the suggestion of the artist’s temperament can still be extrapolated. Sometimes the spaces are so jumbled that we can barely make them out; sometimes so neat and tidy that they are intimidating. The studio of Arnulf Rainer underscores the painterliness of this artist, while that of David Hammons, a private and reclusive artist, is portrayed by Strik’s photograph of his closed, but beautifully weathered studio door, implying both the artist’s attitude towards his audience and his relationship to worn, found materials. Marcel Duchamp’s vision must be imagined within his repurposed studio, long vacated. These new works balance the three prongs of the relationship Strik has created: the studio, and ghost of the artist whose studio is portrayed and ultimately Strik’s own artwork, a transformation and rewritten personal and cultural narrative.
Berend Strik was born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands in 1960. He studied art at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and attended the International Studio Program in New York. He was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1987. Tilton Gallery first showed his work in 1993 and, more recently, in 2005 and 2008. He has had solo exhibitions at the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands and at galleries including Galerie Fons Welter in Amsterdam, Kabinett in Zurich and Stephane Simoens Contemporary Art in Knokke, Belgium. His work is in the collections of major European institutions such as The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden and Haags Gemeente Museum, S’Gravenhage. The artist lives and works in Amsterdam.
The Tilton Gallery is located at 8 East 76th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 – 6 and Monday by appointment. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.jacktiltongallery.com or call 212-737-2221