Guus Vreeburg on Toine Horvers on Tamar de Kemp on Tim Etchells – on theatre

Tim Etchells writes: observing himself in a mirror he describes, as accurately as he possibly can, the effects of light and shade that he sees on his head and shoulders – a classic bust. His description of himself results into readable text. It seems that we can’t approach the ‘real’ Tim closer than here, where reality describes itself through Tim…

Tim observes the realities of the world and describes what he sees, plus his interpretation of it. That  is what a man of the theatre does: he produces a script, a libretto – an extract of reality observed, an abstraction of it. It’s up to others to interpret it into a new reality – that of a stage play – over and over again. Ever so many Hamlets, and not even one of them is the true one, not even one the truth, let alone Reality itself.

Tamar de Kemp writes as well: observing Tim’s head and shoulders (his bust) through a lens, she records the effects of light and shade through her camera in light and shade – ‘photography’ being ‘writing with light’… Tamar’s description of the ‘real’ Tim results into a visible, visual image.

The photographic image had a reputation of being ‘real’ – but just how much the photographer/light-writer manipulates the light he works with in order to make the light he describes look different from ‘normal’, in order to make that light present us with a reality the photographer chooses to show us?

Toine Horvers, too, writes: he writes Tim’s text on Tim on top of Tamar’s image of Tim. Toine often works that way. His ‘writing on top’ results into a sort of drawing, a ‘textual image’. It may both be read and viewed.

This ‘textual image’ is true to Tim’s description of himself and to Tamar’s image, yet at the same time eroding both of them. Toine’s ‘drawing’ makes Tim’s words less clearly readable, and Tamar’s image behind it is affected as well. 

I observe, and you observe: we see Toine’s ‘textual image’ that may be looked at as just what it is – an ‘image’. Yet, at the same time we may read it, and accept it as a ‘script’, a ‘libretto’. As viewers/readers, we each may make our personal interpretation of it. Just how closely can we approach the Tim it all started out with: the ‘actual’ Tim as he was when describing himself while observing the mirror?

We might use this reality, this script for our own imagination… and shall we, in our turn, present the result of that to an audience? See: ‘theatre’!

Guus Vreeburg / Het OOG [The EYE], Rotterdam; © 080408 / 080708

related works:
Tim Etchells' selfportrait