Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002) often used black-and-white photographs as the inspiration for his paintings. He said that they exuded ‘nostalgia and mystery’. Old cameras and other devices evoke similar feelings for him. This camera is rendered in detail, with a wooden frame, the extendable ‘harmonica...’ section and the golden hinges.
And yet this is not a cool depiction of an object: it appears to have its own personality. Is the camera a head, the lens its cyclopean eye? It’s for good reason that Berserik called the work a ‘portrait’. Characteristic of this artist is the positioning of the camera in the near foreground, which has a somewhat alienating effect. The sea remains in the background, both literally and figuratively.
Text: Boris Ariaens, guide and museum host