Concentrating on ideas of time, place and reality, the
work of artist Simon van Til (1985, The Netherlands)
brings forth reflexive views on the outside world in
relation to representation through photography.
Working across photography and sculpture, Van Til's
practice brings together precise perspectives on the
physical, visible world and self-reflexive relations to
the meaning, means and history of image-making,
interwoven with and processed through the rudi-
mentary nature, the methods and the history of the
medium of photography, to reflect on a world being
reflected back upon itself and to reflect on being in
the world.
Earlier works have paralleled photographic exposure
and duration to circumstances of natural light and time,
having been photographed at the speed of light, during
nighttime and by moonlight. Other works focused in-
stead on objects that have moved through time, objects
of which their understanding has changed over time.
Most recent works centre on the optical principle of the
camera obscura, understood as a natural, omnipresent
aspect of the world itself, to look at the nature of repre-
sentation in itself.

For all inquiries, contact


Camera, 2023
cast bronze,
cast from a pre-Columbian double-chambered
vessel attributed to Chimú culture, ca AD 900-
1470, fitted with two Roman coins, ca. AD 69-79
and AD 81-96 with on each reverse a depiction
of Roman Goddess Fides.
25x15x12 cm.


details of Camera, 2023
cast bronze,
25x15x12 cm.


Camera is a bronze cast from a ceramic pre-Columbian
vessel, attributed to Chimú culture, dated between AD
900-1470. The double-chambered vessel in the shape of
two jaguars was once a ritual object that supported the
crossing to an afterlife as burial gift. Cast with both its
openings covered by two ancient Roman coins, defaced
by having drilled pinhole apertures at their centres, the
ceremonial vessel that was once lifted from the darkness
of a grave is now repurposed as an optical instrument.
Made up of artefacts made by two ancient civilizations
separated by geography and moment in time, this cast
bronze sculpture accumulates and amalgamates the past
by reusing and repurposing these objects, pragmatically
but subversively. Holding two parallel representations of
the visible world as a double camera obscura, this sculpture
is positioned in between existing reality and its immaterial representation, life and death.

House of the Orchard, 2023
photogram made from cherry wood
veneer, silver gelatin print, 40x120 cm.
Framed 90x180 cm.


An ancient Roman Pompeiian villa, the House of the
Orchard is known for its frescos that adorn the walls
of two bedroom spaces, offering views onto an orchard
through life-like representation. This multi-part work
looks at the imitation of nature and early history of
Western painting through the historical beginning of
photography in the form of the photogram.
These lush views are however starkly reduced to the
painted pergola panels that circumscribe the blue
bedroom. The panels are each copied as photograms
by exposing latticed pieces of cherry wood veneer on
b/w paper, resulting in an image of a lattice frame-
work on a black ground, identical to the original
painted representations.

House of the Orchard
, 2023
photogram made from cherry wood
veneer, silver gelatin print, 40x80 cm.
Framed 90x140 cm.


An identical set of photograms replaces
the wood veneer with a lattice of cut cherry
tree leaves, conflating orchard and pergola
into one image.

detail of House of the Orchard, 2023
photogram made from cherry tree
leaves, silver gelatin print, 40x80 cm.
Framed 90x140 cm.


Template made of cut and pasted,
dried cherry tree leaves, used for
making photograms in negative
on b/w silver gelatin paper, 2023

House of the Orchard, 2023
photogram made from cherry tree
leaves, silver gelatin print, 40x80 cm.
Framed 90x140 cm.


House of the Orchard, 2023
photogram made from cherry wood
veneer, silver gelatin print, 40x120 cm.
Framed 90x180 cm.


Installation views of Back to the Future
Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam
January 19 - March 28, 2018
Traveled to
C/O Berlin, Amerika-Haus, Berlin (DE)
September 29 - December 1, 2018
Traveled to
Mai Mano Haz, Hungarian House of
Photography, Budapest (HU)
February 1 - March 17, 2019

The traveling exhibition Back to the Future,
the 19th century in the 21st century
, paired
19th-century photography with contemporary
practices, drawing parallels in motifs, methods
and means.



Chimú Suite, 2015-2018,
six silver gelatin contact
prints, each 10x12,5 cm.
Framed 46x52 cm.


Detail of Chimú Suite,

Chimú Suite is made up of six photographs,
presenting a group of six pre-Columbian Chimú
burial vessels. Photographed inside a darkened
tent with a small hole in the top, the objects were
lit by daylight during exposures that lasted up to
several hours,
gradually appearing from the dark-
ness. Yet, as a result of accidental double exposures
on already exposed film, the artefacts almost dis-
appear from the pictures
Brought forth by a civilization long lost, these
vessels persist, to continue to exist, but remain
perpetually elusive.

detail of Chimú Suite, 2015-2018,
six silver gelatin contact prints,
each 10x12,5 cm. Framed 46x52 cm.


Installation views of Back to the Future,
the 19th century in the 21st century
C/O Berlin, Amerika-Haus, Berlin (DE)

Works were shown alongside 19th-century
albumen prints by Stephen Thompson that
document pre-Columbian vessels from the
British Museum, photographed in the 1870's.



Current and Equivalent, 2018
three ritual pre-Columbian Chimú
burial vessels, ca. AD 900-1470,
wool blanket, two ash wood elements


Installation view of Back to the Future,
Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam.

Current and Equivalent is a sculpture informed by
notions of displacement and duplication. A small
show at an antiquarian's shop in 2015 centered on
the removal of six pre-Columbian vessels attributed
to Chimú culture, replaced by photographs of the
objects. A concurrent exhibition at De Ateliers in
Amsterdam then housed the vessels alongside other
sculpture. The work Current and Equivalent from
2018 consecutively compressed this installation of
disparate objects into a single sculpture, as a form
of reproduction. Three vessels had been traded in
the meantime, abstract wood objects were reinter-


Untitled, 2015,
six pre-Columbian Chimú vessels,
this work is no longer extant.


Untitled, 2015, oak wood with
brass inlay, no longer extant.

Untitled, 2014
chromogenic color print,
24x18 cm. Framed 26x20 cm.


Objects held in the collection
of RMO, Royal Museum of
Antiquities, Leiden, NL

Installation view of The Rediscovery of the World,
Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam,
September 7, - December 8, 2013


Light over Horizon (sunset to nautical twilight),
2012, chromogenic color print, 149x190 cm.
Framed 153x194 cm.

The work Light over Horizon (sunset to nautical
twilight) shows a seascape photographed with an
extended exposure that started at sunset and lasted
till nautical twilight (the moment when the sun is
12 degrees below the horizon and all natural light
has disappeared from the atmosphere).
Inherently methodical, this photograph's exposure
time ran parallel to the full duration of twilight, as
daylight faded into darkness and the visibility of the
world slowly diminished, yet the actual exposure ran
counter to this decrease, accumulating more light
over time due to a gradual increase in aperture, star-
ting with the smallest lens opening and ending with
the widest.


Installation view, The Rediscovery of
the World
Huis Marseille, 2013

Installation views of Sea Views,
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam,
June 17, - September 17, 2017

Comprising a selection of photographic seascapes,
anonymously donated to the collection by a private
collector, the exhibition Sea Views included thirteen
works, on view in the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum.



From and To / Elongated View, 2011
silver gelatin print, 16,5x21 cm.
original frame 100x150 cm.

This work is photographed with an exposure time
corresponding to the time it takes for light to travel
from the sun to the Earth, an accurate duration of
8 minutes and 19 seconds. Traveling at the speed of
light, an approximate 300.000 km/s, light crosses
an average distance of 150.000.000 km.
Looking out over an expansive sea, the camera is
operated not only as a means to produce an image,
but as a device to measure duration and distance.


Location photograph,
From and To / Elongated View
, 2011


Installation view, The Rediscovery of
the World
Huis Marseille, 2013

Installation view of Pictures from Another Wall,
the collection of Huis Marseille at De Pont
De Pont Museum, Tilburg,
February 15, - August 23, 2020

Moonlit Disk, 2012
photographed by moonlight,
chromogenic print, 160x200 cm.
Framed 164x204 cm.


Location photograph, moonlit,
Moonlit Disk, winter 2012

Umbra in Umbra, 2013
photographed by moonlight,
silver gelatin print, 52,5x65,3 cm.
Framed 110x130 cm.

The work Umbra in Umbra was
photographed in nighttime, by the
light of a full moon, and recorded
a shadow that was cast on the dark
side of the Earth.


Installation views of When I Give, I Give Myself,
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, installed
throughout the permanent collection,
May 20, 2015 - January 17, 2016

The group exhibition When I Give, I Give Myself at the
Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam put emphasis on the

artistic and existential questions that preoccupied Van
, expressed in the more than 800 letters written by
Van Gogh, most of them addressed to his brother Theo.
Each of the 23 artists and writers in this exhibition was
sent a carefully chosen letter by Van Gogh, along with
the request for a response, in the form of a work of art,
a letter or poem, to forge meaningful links between Van
Gogh's ideas and contemporary art and literature.
The exhibition, on display alongside Van Gogh's paintings
and drawings, was held on the occasion of the commemo-
ration of the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh's death.

'I took a walk along the seashore one

night, on the deserted beach. It wasn't
cheerful, but not sad either, it was -

The sky, a deep blue, was flecked with
clouds of a deeper blue than primary

blue, an intense cobalt, and with others
that were a lighter blue - like the blue
whiteness of milky ways. Against the

blue background stars twinkled, bright, greenish, white, light pink - brighter,
more glittering, more like precious
stones than at home - even in Paris.
So it seems fair to talk about opals,
emeralds, lapis, rubis, sapphires.

The sea a very deep ultramarine -
the beach a mauvish and pale reddish
shade, it seemed to me - with bushes.'

Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo,
Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, on or
about Sunday, 3 or Monday, 4 June
1888 (letter 619)





, 2015
double exposed photograph,
photographed by moonlight,
silver gelatin contact print,
10x12,5 cm. Framed 46x52 cm.

Night, 2012
chromogenic print,
image 180x140 cm.
Framed 220x180 cm.

The monochromatic, photographic work Night is the
outcome of an exposure that corresponds to the precise
duration of night-time, from exact sunset till exact sunrise.
The work depicts a clear sky as if it was day, exposed by the
last light of evening and the first light of new morning.


Installation views of The Rediscovery of the World,
Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam,
September 7, - December 8, 2013


© 2023  Simon van Til