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Strook – heritages sites in Bruges, Belgium

30 Oct — 6 Mar 2022

Within the framework of the ‘Mind the Artist’ project, Strook goes in search of patinated materials in and around a number of heritages sites in Bruges. These materials form the basis for several new installations and works of art.

‘It’s only a matter of time’

Stefaan De Croock (1982), alias Strook, is a contemporary Belgian artist. He obtained a master’s degree in the visual arts at the Sint-Lucas School of Art in Ghent. Since then, he has been pushing his artistic boundaries further and further, both literally and figuratively. His increasingly layered and meaningful collages, sculptures, installations and paintings have already been exhibited to wide international acclaim in Stockholm, Miami, Bangkok, Montreal and Mexico City.

The central theme of his oeuvre can be summarised in the single word ‘time’, a phenomenon that has always inspired Strook. This is evident in, amongst other things, his choice of raw materials. Within the framework of‘’Mind the Artist’, the arts festival organised by Musea Brugge, Stefaan went in search of patinated materials that he found in and around various heritage locations in Bruges. In this way, the city’s rich historical past forms the basis for several new installations and works of art.

In his eyes, there is something magical about old and weathered materials. They exude a kind of spontaneity that it is impossible to reproduce. The colours, the paint, the relief,… Together, they create an aesthetic footprint of everything the material has ever experienced. You can literally see ‘time’ incorporated into its substance. For the artist, it is a privilege to work with such materials.

For this exhibition, Strook created new work that will be displayed at three historical locations in Bruges: the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, the attic of the medieval Sint-Janshospitaal and the Groeningemuseum. He wants to capture the invisible history of these places and absorb it into his art. With this in mind, he has made plaster casts of parts of the floor in all three buildings. This allowed him to ‘sample’ the patina and the soul of these three locations, where countless people pass every day almost without thinking. The casts have resulted in a work in ceramics: a portrait into which the centuries’ old stories of the locations have – quite literally – been fused.

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