Negative Light, Cafe Gallery Projects, London, 2004


Black paper, double-sided tape, 165 x 265 cm, tape backings on the floor

The source material for this installation is the same as that used for Painting (USB). The patch of light in the background of the photograph was selected in PhotoShop and the lucidity was mapped onto a scale of 6 different values. Black paper was ripped in squares in 5 different sizes (1 x 1cm, 2 x 2cm, 3 x 3cm, 4 x 4cm, 5 x 5 cm). These plus 0 represent the 6 different values.

The paper squares were stuck onto the plain white gallery wall using double-sided tape. The white backing of the tape was dropped on the floor and left there. The position in which the squares were glued to the wall was taken from the raster of the source image. Smaller squares were not glued centrally into the 5 x 5cm cell, but into its upper right corner, resulting in verticals aligned to the right.

Negative Light is the result of an attempt to transform digital information into material information following my interest into the ways, in which information changes during the transfer. It also offers a different way to read the image information used for Painting (USB) and emphasizes how the different visualisations interpret the image information differently. The images on the computer screen, in acrylic paint or in ripped paper on the wall all have the same interpretative value in relation to the invisible information. Similarly to the later Paintings (Squares), Light Patch utilizes random elements within the rigid and square pattern of the grid. Here these elements are introduced in the casually ripped edges of the paper resulting in the white of the wall shining through scattered across the figure. This both underlines and fractures the grid that is not quite brought to the fore. It also lightens the patch and gives additional texture and depth to it.

Texture is further stressed by the uneven way in which the squares are stuck to the wall, their corners often ripped or bend forward. This and the velvety surface of the paper bring the figure to live. Because of the way the paper shines, or rather does not shine, in the light the figure oscillates from the distance between standing in front of the wall or opening it up. The white paper droppings on the floor highlight the three-dimensional quality of the installation, its mode of production, and, embedded within, the chaos to which the grid might return.

With Negative Light I am returning to the topos of light that has played an important role in my earlier photographic work (Luck Encounters, 1993 - 95) as well as Chokes, 2003. The use of 'negative light' as the title indicates, brings the installation close to the essence of photography.