Closing the Gap, Forever and Again

Man jumping from a rooftop/ Amsterdam City Archive


Browsing the image bank of the local Amsterdam City Archive. I stumbled upon a photograph, depicting a male figure jumping from one rooftop to another, across a street in Amsterdam. This man will never touch the ground. He eventually died – or so it must be assumed, considering the date of capture was approximately 1931 – but in this picture he continues to jump, ad infinitum. Forever, and again.

Immediately, this stunt triggers a link with Yves Klein (1928-1962), the French artist who in 1960 jumped from a rooftop in the Paris suburb of Fontenay-aux-Roses. Klein hired two photographers to capture this salto mortale while friends held a tarpaulin down below, to prevent him from smashing on the street. We know that, but we don’t see it. Two negatives were montaged together to make it seem as though Klein was all alone in his ‘leap into the void’. […]

abstract of a visual essay as published in GUP#53, Infinity