Lumière no.1

  • 1988
  • Jean-Marc Bustamante
  • screen print on plexiglass
  • 174 x 144 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1994
  • Inventory number 2086

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'Lumière no.1' by the French artist Bustamante is a black and white photograph screen printed onto perspex. The photograph, which is not completely in focus and has a coarse grain, shows a naked arm and hand, pulling the cord of a wall light. The light is on. You can see a part of the armrest of a sofa or the head of a bed diagonally across the image.

Bustamante made a number of works which he called 'Lumières' between 1987 and 1993. The starting point for these were photographs from art and architectural books and magazines from the 1930s to the 1950s. They were photographs of interiors and school buildings, sometimes with children in the photographs. The photographs breathe an atmosphere of past times, of abandonment, melancholy and impersonal feelings and reflect a situation in such a neutral way that everyone can add their own memories. In this respect, Bustamante’s work is similar to that of the artist Christian Boltanski. As the photographs are printed onto transparent perspex and hang a little way away from the wall, they have a ghostly atmosphere. The coarse grain and huge enlargement of the photograph, which is not completely in focus, further reinforce the blurred character of the image. This way of presenting the scene corresponds to the atmosphere of the photograph.

Bustamante made objects using very different materials. Sometimes his work seems abstract, and sometimes there are direct links with the invisible world, but they always have a neutral character. Bustamante aimed to make works which “lack any type of classification and is so simple that it does not reveal any particular characteristics or qualities.” His objects demand attention because of their physical presence, while they give the viewer the space to add their own interpretation in terms of content. Frameworks, hooks, lists and edges are important elements in Bustamante’s work. They provide a boundary between the work and its environment so that the work is enclosed. Despite the relatively flat surface of Bustamante’s works, they are clearly objects. This also applies for the Lumières, which are more than photographic images because they hang on hooks a little way away from the wall.

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