Studio Visit: Berend Strik

by tiresomemoi

I like to know how things are made, it doesn’t matter if it’s cheese, clothespins, or adding machines. I’m a sucker for factory tours, farm visits, open kitchens, open studios, and open windows. Invite me in and I’ll be the last one out.

So you can imagine I eagerly accepted an invitation to the studio of Dutch Artist Berend Strik.

The short version (my version): Berend sews on photographs.

Strik’s version: [I] make space in the mind to find my own way out.

The academic version: Strik’s embroideries are a drastically mutated painting that has been completely infiltrated by the conditions of the generic, post-disciplinary visual art. – Sven Lütticken

Berend is currently working on a series of photographs based on other artist’s studios. So here is me wandering through Berend’s studio looking at the studios of others.

Studio: Jan Beutener, Amsterdam

Jan Beutener

Studio: Mary Ellen Carroll, New York City

Mary Ellen Carroll

Studio: Arnulf Rainer, Austria

Arnulf Rainer

Studio: Mickalene Thomas, Brooklyn

Mickalene Thomas

I also like straight lines, linear connections, and things tied up in neat little bundles:

Two days before I left for Paris I saw Mickalene Thomas’s show “Origin of the Universe” at the Brooklyn Museum. In the corner of Berend’s image of Thomas’ studio rests “Origin of the Universe 2”, Ms. Thomas’ image based on Gustave Courbet’s 1866 L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World). And so, from Berend’s studio in Amsterdam I make my way back to Paris by way of New York.

Mickalene's Origin

Brooklyn OriginFull circle.

Berend’s studio images range from large (wall size) to very large (too big for any wall in my apartment). In another dimension you could walk into them and Berend’s threads pull you in. The swaths and patches of fabric both mask and beckon.

Studio: Berend Strik, Amsterdam*

Berend on Berend

This is Berend standing in front of the door captured in the image above. That is, a shot of Berend’s photograph of his studio and my shot of Berend in his studio.

Same spot different angle

Tools of the trade:


Working while he talks:

Berend's hands

The back:

The back



Berend is always on the look out for interesting fabrics. My favorite, blue and gold brocade from his wife’s grandmother’s wedding dress.

Fan and chair:

Studio with fan

*Actual Studio visit, Saturday 1 December, 2012.