Arnoud Holleman

Amsterdam — Saturday 04 December, 2021
nl / en

Susan Sontag

drawing, photo, text


Portrait of Susan Sontag, dated 1992, re-worked in 2005.
Framed drawing and text.

Exhibitions:
De Hallen (Haarlem, 2005)
Artpace (San Antonio, 2006).

Full text:
I've always thought of photography as something very magical and it is my belief that this is based on a genuine experience: in my early childhood there must have been no sharp distinction between a real thing and its image. In the same way that kids see themselves as inseparable from their mother until the age of three, I thought that object and image were simply two different manifestations of the same energy.
At that age, I did not have a camera to execute the magic trick myself, but when I was doing my best to draw a cat or a flower or a house with my limited skills, I definitely longed to participate in the reality of the objects I was depicting. This longing basically hasn't changed over the years and still re-emerges with every click of a camera.
Years later, after being trained as a visual artist, I was into the differences and parallels between drawing and photography. While drawing - that other form of learning - I saw myself as a human camera and tried to copy photos as precisely as possible. I was intrigued by the fact that I had to work for hours or days or weeks on end and would still fail to come anywhere close to what the camera had seen in a split second.
When I redrew a photograph of Susan Sontag - which by the way very much resembled a photo of my mother when she was pregnant with me - I re-experienced something of that primitive power of the image: Susan and I coincided and somewhere inbetween, reality as such was redefined as an object for exhibition.