Maarten Vanermen
Endless loop

One of the most interesting aspects of Maarten Vanermen’s work is the way the artist approaches light. Whereas traditionally light is mostly seen from a metaphysical point of view, as a phenomenon closely related to abstract notions of nature, cosmos and creation, here the focus is merely on its palpable, physical appearance. The extend to which the latter is suggestive of ideas is left to the imagination of the viewer. As is evident in the two installations of Maarten Vanermen in the collection of Art21, fluorescent tubes are the artist’s favourite material. Especially older types, tubes that start slowly, showing the entire process of sparkling, igniting and discharging. Tubes that produce light that, with its constant flickering, creates an image of a vital but also vulnerable and ephemeral existence. Who would ever have expected a cool and purely technical object as a fluorescent tube to act as a living entity, capable of provoking romantic feelings?

Equally fascinating is the way the artist uses computer technology. The fact alone that in his work digital processing is a prerequisite for getting closer to the heart of the matter is a most meaningful given. While denying and reversing the normal order – digitalization as a process of detachment -, it subtlety suggests the possibility of a new alliance. Moreover, in its abstract and immaterial quality the algorithm that the artist employs for the translation of the constantly fluctuating tube light into a new visual shape, serves as an adequate substitute for the good old light in traditional art. Maarten Vanermen’s work is romantic in a personal and very acute way, insisting on the possibility of transcendence and at the same time staying as close as possible to the profane mechanisms of our high tech world. The same goes for the randomly generated imagery that his installations bring forth. Being as intriguing as inimitable it resists any concrete reading but is nevertheless open to any idea, notion or feeling the viewer projects on it.

Other works from this artist: