REM KOOLHAAS ON BEREND STRIK’S NEW WORK, DECIPHERING THE ARTIST’S MIND
(studio JP nr. 3), 2018.
I don’t know quite why, but in this society at this point in time we are being urged to curb our enthusiasm. Enthusiasm creates vulnerability, it’s not cool and often seems rather ridiculous. Enthusiasm is a risk; you can get it completely wrong. But this afternoon I want to openly proclaim my enthusiasm for this new work by Berend Strik. I am fascinated by this work.
I won’t try to convince you; I just want to share with you why I am so enthusiastic. The painting is based on Strik’s photo of the floor in Jackson Pollock’s studio – part of a series of ‘artist’s studios’, all based in principle on an invasion of privacy. The floor is covered in smudge splashes. You can spot the outline of the canvases that once lay on the floor. Strik surreptitiously inserts his own work in that relatively clean, empty space. In this way, Strik introduces a new genre: the involuntary collaboration. It is a stroke of strategic genius, disguised as homage. Inserting yourself in a history that seemed to be closed...
Pollock was a real man in the days when white men were still popular. A carefully staged action painter. An artbeast.
His work appears macho but you can also see it as meticulous doodles, a tissue of threads made of ink and paint. Pollock’s surface is harmonious rather than wild – Berend isn’t wild either – so why does his combination have this strong conviction? Perhaps it is the planks that give this work its unique impact. Neither Pollock nor Strik – both really embroiderers – want to give their work visible structure but here the subdivision created by the planks has raised both to a more powerful level, given them more authority. It is time to take a fresh look at Berend Strik’s work – and eenwerk is a unique space – really a machine – that can function as a magnifying glass. See here the new Strik – a new force with new depths.
I hope you see what I see – in this unique one-off setup – and that your observation will have consequences for Strik’s future.