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14th August


Extract of ‘The H+F Collection, ten years on’, the book published in 2011 as part of the exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen that covered my first ten years of art activities.

From a distance it looks like red, white and blue stripes of light, cones of fire against a dark sky. Coming closer I see that the photographs by Naoya Hatakeyama were taken through rain-streaked car windows. Distorted reflections of the night landscapes can be seen in every raindrop.

There’s no doubt in my mind. I don’t have to think twice. I know right away: I’m buying these photographs.

Why these works by Hatakeyama and not the photos of horses by Charlotte Dumas, which are also being shown here at Huis Marseille?

Hatakeyama’s aesthetic appeals to me: the colours and compositions, the mysteriousness of the diffuse images. It’s the poetic quality of his work, the hiddenness that challenges my fantasy. The artist says something but leaves enough room in my head to think about other things. I’m enchanted by the way Hatakeyama paints with his camera.

But I come up with these reasons after having made the decision, not before. Something in me makes the decision before I know it and then shares it with me.

What is that ‘something’ that makes decisions for me? Who is that other, deeply hidden I?

Is it my genes? Is it the accumulation of everything I’ve seen, heard and experienced so far?

Is it the moment that I pull myself up in the playpen and look at the sunlight shining through the Venetian blinds and onto the wall?

Is it the afternoon I wait with pain in my stomach for my father to come home, and have to show him my poor report card? Is it my tired mother lying on the couch? My first cigarette in the bushes of Beatrix Park? My first necking session in the same bushes?

Is it the evening I look out from my attic room and fantasize about a land far away where one day I will live? Is it the first time I see the palm trees in the south of France, the first American licence plate, the first taco in Mexico, the view from my balcony in Barcelona?

Is it the doctor’s room where I wait for the results that will change my life? Is it the brother who looks at me beseechingly before closing his eyes for good? Is it the hand of Felipe holding mine as I sit in silence? Is it the hours behind the computer, searching for words, searching for myself?

Is it the constant fear of failing to live up to expectations? The pressure I feel because time is running out? The gentle piano music coming from outside? The warbling of the bird at the neighbours’?

Is that why I choose one, and not the other?

It’s as if there’s a magnet hidden in Hatakeyama’s work, a magnet that attracts the magnet in me hidden deep in my stomach. It’s a natural force, and I’m helpless against it.

You can download the book free of charge in English and Dutch here: English / Dutch

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