Lucas Hardonk explores the limits of photography

“I have discovered a photo is never the end result.”


Join Lucas Hardonk on his visual journey through space and time. A passion for experimenting and an instinct to cross the boundaries of his discipline inform every aspect of the Amsterdam photographer’s captivating imagery. They also make up the work ethic that made Hardonk the proud inaugural beneficiary of the Ace & Tate Creative Fund, which supports original and innovative individuals taking creative risks to break new grounds. “I have discovered a photo is never the end result.”

How would you describe your practice in a few words?

Photography is my starting point, rather than a photograph being the end result. I’m always taking pictures outside my studio, when I’m travelling or on holidays, but what I’m working on really takes shape in my studio. Everything is created there through experiments and physically working with the photo. My work is analogue, so there’s no digital enhancing except scanning.

Can you tell us about the concept you submitted for Ace & Tate Creative Fund consideration?

The starting point of my concept was the question: How does time influence a space and how do we perceive a space? Does a space change with the changing of time or is it our own perception that’s changing? The way we look at a space is influenced by memory, events and time. I wanted to create a body of work that could translate this question by showing spaces within different times, allowing the viewer to see the shifting of connotation. My series of tableaux seeks to suggest a richer interpretation of perspective and the viewer’s relationships with space and time. By applying multiple layers of “time” in the form of transparent filters at different projections in space, I am able to present the same picture across different timelines, simultaneously. My work is not about what you see, but what you experience and what you think or want to see. I like that it’s open to the viewer for interpretation.


You’ve previously said that you want to visualize the boundaries of photography. Could you elaborate on that?

Having not made work for a long time, two years ago I decided to rent a studio to reinvent myself within the medium of photography. I always had a difficult relationship with photography; I liked the medium but found it hard to make it my own. This resulted in experimenting with the boundaries photography has, such as time and framing. Photography became more of a tool than an end result. I’m trying to incorporate more timelines in my work by using black and coloured transparent filters—so a space can be seen in different times within the same work—and not depict the world as it is, but as we generally see/experience it.

What makes a signature Lucas Hardonk photo?

I guess in the last two years of experimenting, I have discovered that a photo is never the end result in itself. I have to add extra layers in any form to create a new work but I always start with photographs as a base. Much like an analogue collage, my work must always challenge the viewer.


Photo: Jordi Huisman

We understand there’s a work by Lex Pott on your living room wall. Do you feel drawn to (threedimensional) design, also in terms of your own work?

Actually, the work I have by Lex Pott is 2D, but I’m drawn to 3D objects in general. In my new body of work, I try to get out of the boundaries of 2D photography by placing filters on my photographs, which creates a sort of extra dimension in my work; it becomes more of a framed object than a 2D photo.

Who do you look up to most in the world of photography and art?

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs as young artists; I like how they explore the medium of photography and always find a new and interesting approach to present it. Also, Maurizio Cattelan as a sculptor, because there’s always something disruptive in his work and it’s very open to all sorts of interpretation.

How do you envision your (near) future as an artist?

Good question, I have no idea… I started working again because I felt I had to do and create without thinking about what comes out of that. To be funded by the Ace & Tate Creative Fund for my first new project was unexpected, but it gives me a good opportunity to show my work and gives me a drive to continue. Of course I feel incredibly honoured and proud to have been chosen by the board members of the Ace & Tate Creative Fund to receive this great incentive. Hopefully it’s the start of something good, like creating new work and getting exposure. I’m not really thinking of what it will lead to; having my work seen is the most important thing right now. I hope to be part of more exhibitions and get into an artist residency to create new things, in a different environment and with other artists.


The Ace & Tate Creative Fund was established to support emerging artists and to bring brilliant new ideas to the forefront of the industry. The fund supports individuals or collectives anywhere, in any medium, as long as they are breaking new grounds.


By Lottie Hodson

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