Painting at the speed of light
On Jus Juchtmans
Jus Juchtmans’ paintings are ponds in which you can see your own reflection.You can drown in them. The light sucks you into the abyss, into the undercurrent, into the whirlpool and everything underneath the surface shimmers and vibrates.
Nothing to see
What do you see when looking at Juchtmans’ pictures? Nothing special really. Spots, smudges, lines, shimmers and colours. The latter above all. In grazing light you can also see dragging marks and scratches, minuscule air bubbles, sometimes little holes. These belong, because perfection doesn’t exist. The paintings are not airbrushed. They are not serial work. Each canvas is like a beach smoothed by the squeegee of the sea, time and time again. So what do you see when looking at Juchtmans’ pictures? Everything. Through the reflection of the paintings the room, the surroundings, the sky, the clouds, the light, the lighting, even the observer are sucked into the painting. At any given moment you see something different. Juchtmans’ pictures aren’t dead matter; they are very much alive.
Inventor of colour
Jus Juchtmans’ paintings are plain beautiful. Are we still allowed to say such a thing? They shine and reflect. They astonish because every day Juchtmans invents new colours in his lab, his studio. They seduce us with their sensuality, yet aren’t casual, coquettish or superficial. They aren’t easily consumed, they draw you out, they invite you to participate. Juchtmans’ pictures are completed, but not frozen. They can change at any given moment, because they are colour and colour is vibration, writhing and acceleration. Colour has the speed of light. Colour breathes. Juchtmans’ paintings come at you at light speed. They are basically impossible to photograph, just like the Northern lights. Each photograph is a snapshot, one of the million possible manifestations of the picture. Each reproduction of a painting by Juchtmans would be a betrayal of that painting, because it narrows it down to a single moment, while it is ever-changing. A picture by Juchtmans is a chain reaction, a solar prominence, an alluvion, an eternal coming and going of light and colour. It is a natural phenomenon.
Isn’t this true for any painting? Monet’s Waterlilies, Rothko’s ascetic abstract pictures, Richter’s photorealism. Yes and no. Juchtmans’ paintings come at you with the highest intensity of colour in the world. How come? Because his pictures are in fact installations: a multitude of layers of colour that reveal themselves through the transparency of the medium. Juchtmans’ paintings work like diamonds. Each layer breaks the light in a different way. Each different kind of light creates new observations. They are allotropes: within their fixed aggregate state they have multiple physical manifestations. Pictures by Juchtmans are more than a visual experience. They are a total sensation, a happening. A painting – or rather a pictorial installation by Juchtmans – drags you in; you participate, experience, change with the light. You have to. This is the true strength of the work.