Void, 2023. Edition of 750 copies. Silkscreened + foiled hardcover, 152 pp., b/w and color illustrated, 195 x 260 mm. Photographs by Julie van der Vaart. Design by Myrto Steirou, Koao Linneu.
“From an early age I had a fascination for space and time. As a child, I tried to imagine the size of the universe. I imagined space in front of me but I also felt myself as a physical presence in that space: it stretched out in my head and I lost myself in the infinite depth. I also had similar experiences with time, that it was stretchable, movable and not fixed at all.”
‘Blind Spot’ by artist Julie van der Vaart is a poetic exploration of the concepts of imaginary time and deep time. Photographs of the human body, caves and water(falls) are choreographed into disorientating sequences to reveal correlations between images. Created over six years, each series of work in the book contributes to the artist’s ongoing attempts to represent through the photographic image the discrepancies between imaginary time and experienced linear time.
The title of the book refers to the blind spot where the optic nerve connects to the retina and no light-sensitive cells are present. The brain fills in the empty space based on the information surrounding the blind spot. The title acts as a metaphor for the potential divergence—the trick of the mind—between what we see and experience, and what is real.
Van der Vaart’s photographic archive consists of many series of nudes and romantic vistas which she continually draws upon to make new work. For the series ‘Beyond Time’, she experimented with darkroom chemicals to make the human form appear and disappear in the print—simultaneously present and absent—dissolving into the cosmos. She captured the insides of caves with photopolymer etches based on analogue photographs for her series ‘Deep Time’. The mineral deposits in the caves were formed by water continuously percolating between the rocks over millennia, creating sculptural bodies which represent a giant mass of time. The series ‘Waterfall’ takes its starting point the works of Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki in which the waterfall is used as analogy for life and the conscious. The waterfall representing a separation of energy and its later return to the whole.
Julie van der Vaart is a photographic artist and educator born in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and currently living and working in Belgium. She has a Masters of Fine-arts in Photography from the Media, Arts & Design-faculty in Genk, and a further Masters of Research in Art and Design from Sint Lucas Antwerp. She is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, receiving the stipend for established artists, and since 2021 she has been participating in the two-year international Masterclass Reflexions 2.0.