So Many Signs

Portrait D I 22 by Strook
63″x35″; recycled wood; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.


Strook: So Many Signs

at Diskus in Aalst, Belgium
15 April-7 May 2023

With his portraits, Strook re-examines the paradox of what it means to be human. What is it that makes us unique and different, but at the same time equal and alike?

“So Many Signs” presents a profound answer to this question. For the first time, he used symbolically charged materials such as marble, metal and bronze. Previously, patinated wood with visible traces of the past was the main material for his works, a metaphor for the nicks and scars that life gives us over time.

The new marble portraits create a universe with time dimensions of a different magnitude. The human scale flinches by such monumental matter. Millennia-old robustness burdens the portraits with a wise and cold force. How we humans relate to the world around us is reassessed in an evolutionary sense.

Portrait L II 23 by Strook
30.3″x20.5″; recycled wood on steel frame; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Human impermanence, fragility and insignificance are highlighted themes with respect for the unique story each and every one of us has to tell. All of this is accomplished by Strook’s majestic language of the portrait. They represent the subtle simplicity of the fragile and imperfect beauty of every human being.

The figures in the duo portraits vacillate between distance and proximity. Interaction seems superficial and fleeting, referring to our flawed awareness in trying to connect with each other. One of the main issues of everyday life. The daily deluge of information threatens our chances of perceiving the little things of importance, in ourselves, in each other, and in the world around us.

At the center of the exhibition, visitors find works in bronze which are based on the cabinets of curiosity from the 17th and 18th centuries. They are inner portraits, collected memories that determine our relationship to the world. We look at an exposed interior, an essential landscape built from the residue of human experiences and emotional memories.

These immanent portraits beg the question what identity essentially means. To what extent does the interpretation of who we are, depend on the box into which we are pushed as human beings?

(text adapted from material provided by the artist)


Diepestraat 46
9300 Aalst, Belgium

Saturday, 15 April 2023: 2-9PM
Monday, 1 May 2023: 2-6PM
Saturdays-Sundays through 7 May 2023, 2-6PM