Bas van den Hurk combines and manipulates multiple spatial co-ordinates through different mediums in a given context, most often an exhibition room. In an era where the potential to make new remarkable gestures seems exhausted, he instead productively researches discursive networks, modes and models of painting, manual (re)production and installation.
Van den Hurk’s practice circles around questions of ‘transitivity’, an influential term borrowed from David Joselit’s ‘Painting Beside Itself’, which describes the ability of 'expressing an action which passes over to an object'. The work thereby pulls back and forth in a permanent tension that on the one hand strives for radical autonomy and on the other is aware of the fact that it is part of a heteronomous network of texts, histories, modes of production and commodification.
Exhibitions are made into interstices between painting, fashion and architecture. His recent paintings, stretched of silk, are smeared and dabbed with a palette that pulls at one's eyes. Bright magentas and deep sandstone. Motives are printed through them, a fragmented image of a costume from the Triadic Ballet designed by Okskar Schlemmer. These paintings are brought into play with pieces of fabric patch-worked and sewn into collaborative, handmade suits and dresses and sculptural structures that function as displays for elements referring to the painting process.
These structures, angled through spaces, divide and create intimacy with the objects and paintings while simultaneously allows one to move around and find new vantage points providing additional layers. Viewers thus become mutual witnesses to the (net)work, negotiating the meaning of it, without ever totally ‘having’ it. This reflects for Van den Hurk important issues of the contemporary: How can we live together? How do we negotiate that? How do we collectively create our environment? How much are we part of (net)works? These questions are negotiated over and over in an ongoing dialectic of making, thinking and exhibiting.
Bas van den Hurk (°1965) lives and works in Tilburg. He studied Fine Art at Academy St.Joost in Breda and Philosophy of Aesthetics at the University of Amsterdam.