Reflections of the inbetween

The enlightenment of Jean-Marc Spaans


Is this photo the visualized result of a process wherein lightabsorbing objects are artistically framed? Did the photographer take a picture of an existing object: a bedside lamp? At first sight it is, but on closer inspection it appears to be a registration of photography lightwriting understood in its most basic impulse: as the manipulation and framing of unbearable bodies of lightness. In the final analysis this photo is the visual result of the act of photography as such: a photo of the performance of projecting light as objective matter. That is why JeanMarc Spaans both in a technical and a intellectual sense is a reflective photographer: as a lightwriter he opens a reflective space inbetween light and matter.


Spaans does not take photos of preexisting objects that absorb the light of the sun or flashlight as usually is done by photographers. By manipulating neontubes he draws contours of fictitious objects: a flight of stairs, household goods, a swirling dance of a dervish dancer, a bedside lamp. However, eventually these `mobilized presences' are but flashes in the dark. In `reality' these objects are as present as the sonic waves of the radio: virtually they surround us all the time, but we don't hear them until we turn on the radio. Spaans' camera functions as a radio: it frames invisible trajectories of light as a photo of a highway at night does and projects them architectonicly.

The `real' object of Spaans' photos however is revealed as their obscured double. Mobilized presences cover and encapsulate the least objective and most obscure of all human projections: the invisible body as the moving force of being. In a sťance like setting the trajectories of a multifolded or swirling body are projected as an aura appearance. To Spaans perhaps this fluid and stroboscopic bodily reflection is what really `matters'.

Mobilized presences do not absorb light, they cast their shadow on this invisible supporter. They inscribe it as their medium in the darkness. They `luciferize' the body. Is this Spaans' real medium: the unbearable lightness of the body? And if so is the reflective photographer also an aura performer who depresents this unbearable lightness of this being?

Henk Oosterling