Stigter Van Doesburg is proud to present (slow heavy metal music playing), the second solo show of Daniel van Straalen at the gallery. With a title just written in brackets, the artist refuses to tell us what it is all about. A typical Van Straalen strategy which he’s also making use of in most of his images. His work can appear as a fragment, a reference or even a mistake.
Van Straalen is interested in archetypes of any sort. Since he made ‘the ideal chair’ he is preoccupied with images that are recognizable for any one. A major source in this respect is the image culture coming from social media like Instagram and Facebook. Van Straalen questions the concept of authenticity in a world that is dominated by internet. Is it still important to distinguish what is real and what is fake or who was the first to come with a particular idea? According to Van Straalen those questions are outdated. Without appropriation there can’t be progression. But what are the consequences of appropriation as such? Can beauty just be seen in a finished product? Artist like Louise Lawler, Richard Prince and Barbara Kruger researched the multiple without an original. Images which are not directly based on reality, but on an image of reality. Van Straalen is extending those questions by appropriating other appropriating artists and in this way bringing back the context of the context to the work itself. He calls it l’ art pour l’ art pour l’ art pour l’ art. At the same time is appropriation a very social thing; the sharing of text and images by multiple users. As meaning is never fixed and will change according to context, humor is a weapon for Van Straalen to make us familiar with his ideas about real and fake. ‘Going dump’ is one of the strategies Van Straalen is using in this respect. His role model is rapper Lil B. and his idea of getting total freedom is seen in Van Straalens interest in ‘memes’. Memes are images from internet with or without accompanying text and based on not wanted celebrities, references to popular culture and hoaxes. The makers of those ‘memes’ are using each other’s work what often leads to a kind of running gags. The more the memes are repeated, the funnier they become. Because of the constant repetition an own language is occurring which is very easy to understand. Apart from being just funny, they are depressing at the same time. A relativation and a cynical reaction on how the world turns. For Van Straalen the makers are a kind of artists and in this respect we can see the ultimate merging of high and low culture.
One wall of the gallery is covered by a repetition of the head of the same guy. This cartoon figure Bobby (King of the Hill) is drenched in repetition. Sculptures of over sized caps in Daniel Buren like stripes are hanged like paintings, a page from Instagram account ’who is who’ showing four look a like tapestries, is reworked on by Van Straalen and knitted again as if an example from a catalogue. The wall at the entrance is not plastered, but appears as unfinished or not?