In 2015 I wrote a blog entry on the Dutch Light and the claim by the artist Josef Beuys that the land reclamation at Zuyderzee may be responsible for the vanishing of this phenomenon, which was a source of inspiration for great Dutch painters. I was already two years ago sceptical about this claim's relevance. And this year, upon arrival in the Netherlands, I recalled this discussion. A few months ago, following the recommendation of a Maltese colleague, I read with great interest 陰翳礼讃 (In Praise of Shadows) by the Japanese architect and novelist 谷崎 潤一郎 (Jun'ichirō Tanizaki), in the English translation by Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker. One of the aspects Tanizaki discusses in his text, is that the change of available materials has a narrowing impact on haptic experience and perception of colours. Could it be, that nothing changed with the Dutch light, but just our perception followed a narrowing path by a reduced spectrum of light sources and materials to display nuances?
The last three Septembers I have been spending in the Netherlands as a guest lecturer at the University of Tilburg. Last year my start was delayed by a severe Malaria, which I recovered well from, even up to today I am not back to the old level of fitness. This year, I am having a very pleasant start in Tilburg, mainly because the students are smart and engaged. I can see sparkles in their eyes. I also restructured and updated my course completely and I am extremely happy that this seems to fall on fertile ground.