curtains around the bed

photograph | ©2013 Luuk de Haan | printed on hahnemühle paper | unique

De Haan’s titles often make indirect references to narrative or figurative content that provide clues to the potential for a metaphorical reading of his essentially abstract works. The series curtains around the bed (2013) is unusual though, in that it refers very directly to objects in the real world and thus directs us towards a very particular understanding of the meaning of the images. Of course these are not direct representations, but are constructed using De Haan’s frequent technique of photographing digitally manipulated on-screen slideshow images of lines of varying degrees of brightness and tonal intensity. But the illusion of undulations in the monochrome surface immediately bring to mind the soft folds of curtains, and the title’s indication that a bed lies behind these curtains prompts us to assume a human presence too. With their sombre gradations of greys shifting from white to black, and the implicit suggestion of the kinds of curtains that often surround a hospital bed, we can immediately read these images as a reference to the threshold between life and death.  – Derek Horton