Marsel Loermans | Anton Spruit.
24 January - 17 February 2008
"De Hoeksteen Live!" *:
Marisa Polin interviews Marsel Loermans and Anton Spruit at 'De Hoeksteen Live!' on their photo exhibition at ArtCube gallery.
*Amsterdam television and internet program now also on Second Life.
Interview Part 1 on U Tube
Sunday 27 January.
Text Sexagesima by Marisa Polin
Click the photo for the video.
The moment I saw the first photo of the series, I was completely fascinated by its strength and sincerity. I loved the picture that was telling a complete story of that person. The sitter let the photographer see his life and then the photographer translated that life and that moment to me. I wanted to see more of these open but at the same time intriguing characters, who where playing their own life.
This happened nearly two years ago and what I saw then was the first black and white amplification proof for the whole project. The project was still taking form. At that time I had my studio above Marsel Loermans’ and I had no idea I would be having the exhibition space of ArtCube. We talked plenty about portraits, photography and this specific project.
A year later I was moving and I knew I wanted him to exhibit the portrait series at ArtCube. I had no doubt. Marsel knew of my interest on the portraits and last autumn he presented me the little “Momentopnamen van nu” (“Time shoots from now”) book. This small object is full of more than 1600 hundred lives in the form of black and white photo portraits. As I have it in my hands it makes me think of the Bible or of some kind of dictionary of faces: all different. The contradictory quality of the book is that at the same time it gives the impression that all people photographed are the same, same size, same color, same illumination, all are alike.
After two months Marsel called and we set dates, by the way, it was not ‘his’ project but ‘theirs’, only then I met Anton Spruit, the second half of the makers of the portraits. Anton has a very different personality than Marsel and as I learned they can work very well together.
It was only this week that I saw for the first time the beautiful large as life color portraits that now hang. Thanks to the invitation card we sent I had some idea of the choice of photographs that were going to be brought but I did not imagine the straightforward power of these photographs. My first thought was the link the images had with the traditional Dutch photography. A word came to my mouth: ‘Rembrandt’, the dark background, the ‘decorating’ clothes that seem to be there only to test the artist’s control on drapery, all these factors are there only to emphasize the faces with a falling light from the left, and that brings me to another word: 'Vermeer'.
Some of the people who have seen the photographs with me have told me they thought seeing from the outside that they were looking at paintings. Others noticed the relaxed posing of the sitters in contrast to the appearance of having being taken at a studio. But what I hear the most is the word ‘purity’. These real people in their most pure way are photographed with perfectionism and sensitiveness. Both artists Marsel Loermans and Anton Spruit talk about each photo by their subject names with a clear empathy, and they told me stories about each one of those that are hanging. They have respect for their achieved result and all their subjects. You have to remember they were 1614 portraits of people and who knows how many photographs were taken.
As you can observe at the photographs, it seems as the people are looking at you, expecting you to discover their lives and feel what they feel. They are alive and present. Sadly enough one of the most impressive sitters of one of the best photographs has already passed away. And that brings me back to the title of the little book, the photographs had made of them permanently ‘moments from now’.
I wanted to share with you my aesthetic experience with these photographs and consciously without going into the details of the commission they were made for or the institution that commissioned it. The history and stories are an added value to the photos but for me they are strong enough on their own.
Text Sexagesima press (in Dutch)
Marsel Loermans | Anton Spruit
een dunne scheidslijn tussen autonoom en werk in opdracht
De samenwerking tussen Marsel Loermans, fotograaf en Anton Spruit, vormgever bestaat sinds 1988. Aanvankelijk maken zij fotografische illustraties en band-dia programma’s in opdracht. De laatste jaren krijgt hun werk een meer autonoom karakter.
De dunne scheidslijn tussen werk in opdracht en autonoom bleek volledig te verdwijnen bij een opdracht van de instelling voor mensen met een verstandelijke beperking, ’s Heeren Loo, (voorheen Boldershof-Waalborg). Bij gelegenheid van het honderdjarig bestaan portretteerden zij 1614 medewerkers en cliënten. Zo ontstond een serie portretten die -indirect- de maatschappelijke positie van mensen met een beperking ter discussie stelt.