Kate Street

As we are familiar with the still-life genre, we interpret these paintings as signboards for the good life. Flowers, fruit, bread and meat surrounded by the finest crockery evoke the loveliest thoughts in the viewer. Here and there the keen observer will notice a small detail in the middle of all this life, reminding us that all this richness can vanish as quickly as light when a candle is snuffed out.

At first sight, the work of Kate Street (1979) links up perfectly with these seventeenth-century still-lifes. There is nothing new under the sun. However, somehow you don't quite trust it all. And you are right, for if you look closely you will see that you are not looking at a painting but at a photograph. Nevertheless the work appears to be painted. What is going on here? Things gradually fall into place when you notice a vase which looks suspiciously like the one in the photo. The flowers in the vase are not real. No indeed, by using clay, wire, fabric and other simple materials, Kate Street creates three-dimensional imitations of still-lifes. She then paints the objects and takes a photo of them. In other words she makes an artistic image, an artificial construction based on the tradition of the still-life. A tradition which also excelled at making artificial constructions. For if we analyse the seventeenth-century floral still-lifes we notice that all sorts of flowers, which in fact blossom in different seasons, are nevertheless depicted together in one vase.

Even at that time the painter was creating an artificial image which he was able to evoke only through his art. Pomp and circumstance were combined in one work with which its owner could emphasise his luxury lifestyle, while at the same time being aware of the transience of all this ostentation. This paradox of life and death, typical of all processes of production and creativity, is the theme of Kate Street's work. With this perfectly executed and yet treacherous artificial scene, the artist plays with different modes of representation.
- Jurgen Gaethofs


13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
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