big nothing

photograph | ©2013-2022 Luuk de Haan | paper size 100 x 72,5 cm, print size 82,2 x 54,8 cm (unless noted differently) 
printed on hahnemühle museum etching | unique

The issue of what, if anything, is represented in an image is alluded to in the title of De Haan’s series big nothing (2013-16), implying that we might be looking into the void. How can a photograph of nothing exist? Literally of course, it can’t. We are seeing, even in big nothing, visual phenomena recorded photographically and perceived optically, even though what we see might not seem to relate to the ‘real’ world around us. Another aspect of abstraction comes into play here, the relationship of form and formlessness. De Haan’s big nothing series explores the boundaries of form and our capacity to perceive its existence against a background of formlessness. The amorphous shapes in these images exist at the threshold of emergence and disappearance. In terms of the digital construction of the images, intriguingly, the shape itself contains less data than the space surrounding it. – Derek Horton