The black hole. The great nothing. The infinite void. As a child, at night I my bed, it scared the hell out of me. At the same time it also fascinated me. In my fantasy I was standing at the edge of this black hole. If I jumped in I would disappear. Would I dare to? Right now I would welcome this black hole. I would like to have one on my desk, next to my computer, very close to the box that contains all my receipts. It would suck up my tax statements and invitations to parties I dread attending. I would toss in unpaid bills, annoying e-mails, distracting thoughts, and other stuff that is just in the way. Now -occasionally- I would jump into that liberating void.
In fine arts there is a term that is closely linked to the black hole; the horror vacui. It refers to an artist who fills up every empty spot with an excessive amount of details. The grotesque oeuvre of the British artist Grayson Perry is a perfect example. His vases are covered with multicoloured scenes, photographs, and handwritten texts expressing his biting critique on injustice and hypocrisy. In philosophical discourse, the black hole has a slightly different connotation. Man is afraid of doubt and insecurity and has a hard time dealing with questions that have not (yet) been answered.
Then there is the black hole of the loneliest kind. The one you vanish into and do not get out of that easily. This was the motive behind the exceptional book ‘Het Zwarte Gat’ from 2006 by Anouk Kruithof and Jaap Scheeren, designed by Hans Gremmen. Depressing moments are playfully visualized/suggested and combined with literal depictions of the black hole. If I recall correctly, the book was the result of the very personal black hole that the makers experienced after a very intense period at the art academy.
Following any intense education or sizable project like finishing a book or an exhibition, a black hole (at least a tiny one) is almost necessary. In these moments we break free from the structure of an academy and the opinions of teachers, fellow students or colleagues. After the darkness of the black hole it becomes apparent that this void is essential to create. Long live the black hole, on to the next one!