“Whether a photo was taken yesterday or two years ago is immaterial. Inspired by theories of non-linear time, astrophysics and quantum mechanics, Julie van der Vaart has begun experimenting in the darkroom. [...] A photo is prosaically a record of the past, but now it remains eternally afloat in imaginary time.” - Merel Bem
‘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.