Björn Streeck delights us with serene, fanciful paper works that are a relief-like mixture of drawing and collage. His exuberant fantasy is combined with the greatest precision. Since the diversity of ideas can hardly be captured in one work, he realizes the themes in series. And the artist makes us wonder whether his brimful world of forms is abstract or representational, whether they are mere shapes or full of meaning – a meaning, however, that is almost impossible to define.
The works often have a dreamlike character, they seem to come from the depth of memory, products of free association, similar to the childhood fragments in psychoanalysis. The images lead us into realms that are detached from conscious reality. The search for a – for the – key to this world results in the realization that an exact interpretation is hardly possible.
care & craftsmanship
The care and craftsmanship of the production process is reminiscent of artisans, violin makers for instance, or ebenists. Streeck handles the various types of paper like an intarsia carpenter deals with his wood types – an association that is based not least on the haptic materiality of these paper works.
These drawing-collages consist of various types of paper: from thin, transparent tissue paper and pergamin to colored paper and ingrain wallpaper to several types of cardboard. Even linen and foil are incorporated. The result of this material versatility is a haptic, relief-like structure. The multi-layered inner content of the works thus acquires an outwardly tangible expression.
Streeck’s art deals less with the unique, completed work than with the process of boundless doing, the associative fantasizing, creating, producing. That is why this œuvre is conceived in series. The goal, however, is not to invent as many interesting variations on a theme as possible. It comes from necessity: realizing that it is impossible to capture the diversity of the world in a single image, the artist has been resorting to series of works and ever new solutions.
Streeck’s paper works are a large-scale, comprehensive research: What is form, what is meaning? How can I grasp and represent the essence of art? How do I get to the bottom of being? What are the criteria for surface and depth? Here the naive joy of doing – similar to childlike drawing with crayons or playing with building blocks – has its serious core.
It is probably not least this proximity to our own efforts in the school’s handicraft lessons that makes these works so easily accessible. In this respect they resemble the paper works of Paul Klee, who consciously resorted to childlike forms of representation; his techniques, in turn, have influenced art lessons to this day. And what applies to Klee also applies to his young colleague: as spontaneous, intuitive and impulsive as these works may appear, they are planned with greatest precision and care.
What at first glance seems to be merely coincidental and childlike turns out to be a masterly virtuosity of design. Everything is thought out down to the smallest detail, hardly anything is left to chance. The Six-Liners series is an example of this almost mathematical precision: each sheet is half the size of the previous one.
Alongside Paul Klee, Streeck’s line of tradition leads to artists of playful Surrealism such as Joan Miró and Jean Arp. The element of motion, the musical and rhythmic-dancerial lead us to Alexander Calder’s Mobiles, the unconscious-associative to Art Brut.
However, in Streeck’s work nothing is “brut”, here everything is friendly, refined, almost elegant. And as personal as Streeck’s works are: he creates them for us, for his audience. They are works of communication. The artist wishes to bring us joy.
He noted the appropriate comment on the occasion of the paper works wall piece “Ich Alle” (“I All”), which was executed in Leverkusen in 2018. Large moving forms, figurations with echoes of humans and animals, can be recognized in the 15-meter wide, over three meters high installation.
The artist writes (in ‘simple language’, as he points out): “…the fantasy beings meet and dance. They have fun and are happy. Moving together with music is a good idea… They arrange themselves to be free in community. The reason is their joy of existence. The best stimulus to the nervous system is joy.”
This selection focuses on the works on and with paper. The artist’s diverse sculptural work as well as his large wall installations must, on this occasion, be disregarded. You can find them on his website Björn Streeck. – In accordance with the serial character of the work, we have put together two – or more – works from each series.
Please view the artist’s work in our exhibitions Abstractions: Painterly, Diverse…, Surreal And Phantastic Worlds and Constructivism, Mostly. You might also be interested in other artists in our gallery that work in a similar way: Clemens Behr, Jessica Buhlmann, Forster Herchenbach and Christopher Sage. And you might follow Björn Streeck’s activities at SOX, an artists’ space – a shop window – in Berlin Kreuzberg. • For further information please view the artist’s website Björn Streeck.
Björn Streeck was born 1983 in Berlin where he lives and works.
|2011-16||studied Fine Art, Painting, at Kunsthochschule Weißensee, Berlin|
|2014-17||grant, Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes|
|2016-17||Meisterschüler, Prof. Friederike Feldmann|
|since 2017||independent showroom SOX, organization and curatorial team|
|2020||Norbert Bayer & Björn Streeck, Nationalmuseum, Berlin (S) (upcoming)|
What Was the Connoisseur?, Spoiler, Berlin
Adamant Romance Blue Intolerant, Casino, Berlin
|2019||Just another art for life experience, Set 10, Betakontext, Berlin|
to(o) long for Lethe, Exgirlfriend, Berlin
Round Table 5, Art Charity, Classic Remise, Berlin
I can’t believe it’s not, Golden Pudel Club, Hamburg, with Norbert Bayer (S)
Intoto # 7, Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
Björn Streeck’s Memory, Sox, Berlin (S)
|2018||The Shrine of Friendship, Brandenburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam|
Watching a Movie Is Watching the Object, Galerie ohne Namen, Munich
Romantic Club 2 Blush, Raum für drastische Maßnahmen, Berlin
Junction, Bar Babette, Berlin
Side Effects, Erholungshaus, Leverkusen
|2017||Romantic Club, C4-Projects, Copenhagen, Denmark|
Das ernste Zelt, Humboldt Carré, Berlin
Diploma exhibition, Weißensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin
100 Jahre de Stijl, Embassy of the Netherlands, Berlin
Penetrating Paper, Semjon Contemporary, Berlin
Sechszeiler, Kabinett, Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz, Berlin (S)
Böse Blüten, Projektraum Bethanien, Berlin
|2016||Berlin Masters, Arndt Art Agency, Berlin|
Diploma exhibition, Weißensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin
Quelltext, Brandenburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam
|2015||Walllust, Kunsthalle am HamburgerPlatz, Berlin|
|2014||Just another art for life experience, Set 3, Betakontext, Berlin|
Kopier mir die Sonne, Akademisches Kunstmuseum, Bonn
Lieber Künstler, zeichne mir! Part 1, Semjon Contemporary, Berlin
|2013||Traumwelten, Schillerpalais, Berlin|
|2012||Within All Possible Identities, Bourouina Gallery, Berlin|