- Hakan Öztunalı
Deconstructing Darkness /w Nona Limmen
Updated: Feb 26
Nona Limmen the Dutch Photographer deconstructs darkness with her analog-digital art pieces. Nona utilizes dark silhouettes via various tools to create a sparkle of inspiration among who seeks dark visual arts. Her phygital knowledge and understanding become a drawbridge to amalgamate digital environment with physical.
Nona narrates ephemerality of everything with art of photography. Several things in this mortal realm have a predetermined regulations like death, life and pleasures.
These concepts are all the harbinger of nothingness where nothingness may become and form into something meaningful. On this very spot, it is our individual perception to comprehend the turn of events.
Nona’s methodology for her art-work is not that simple to perceive. As art always been the arena of subjectivity, I would like to tell you how I perceive her photography from my imagination;
At first glance, I feel my blood boils like a cauldron boils for dinner… It appeals to me in a bizarre way… I am a bit confused… Starting to questioning myself to seek answers which should be answered by myself… My entity gradually feel relieved… I am not hiding from myself anymore, there is an arcane barrier bordering me… I do not remember the questions that I asked to myself… I am not interrogating myself… There are no questions and answers… Everything in it’s right place…
Nona Limmen reminds me my own existence and transience. I am the last cup of death, waiting to be poured down into the soil.
Could you please depict the realm you belong to?
Nona Limmen: The same realm we all inhabit. Nevertheless, I will admit I indulged in more than my fair share of escapism in life. There were lots of times where it was hard for me to accept this world as it was. Creating other worlds became a coping mechanism for me to escape from life’s cruelty and mundaneness.
However, my art is not a form of protest against the real world. Rather, a celebration of the richness which exists just below the surface of our imagination and view on the world in which we live. An inner world with so many distant and unknown territories where you could easily get lost in, yet feel completely comfortable and at home. No frills, just my vision of the world through my sensitivity and the depths of my innermost thoughts.
An honest vulnerability that I try to convey through deep melancholic images that portray untold stories. This realm has been my sanctuary for years, my savior through the worst of times, and my deepest wish is that my art -or any art- can offer others the same type of comfort and consolation when they need an escape from life.
Let’s warp-drive to your pre-teen years, may you describe what you remember anything correlated, become the first ignite of your aspirations and art?
Nona Limmen: What really ignited my artistic journey was that I grew up to have reverence and love for the creative spirit. Both my parents are creative souls with a very strong taste for all sorts of art -it surrounded me everywhere. They have always been interested in sculpting, writing poetry, making music and painting ever since I can recall, so the apple didn’t really fell far from the tree.
The best pre-teen memories for me are all those moments when I was creating with my friends and little brother in my mom’s atelier. We would spend huge amounts of time drawing, painting and digging our hands into clay whilst Massive Attack and the Prodigy was blasting from the speakers.
I vividly remember the smell of the clay ovens subtlety blending with hints of paint and my mom’s perfume. You can say that through these experiences my parents personally delivered to me the keys to the realm of art. A completely different world from the one I was used to, one without any inhibitions and limitations -a place where I truly felt alive, free and understood.
Was it an intuition to pick photography as a visual art genre for your performing arts, or do you believe you could enhance it in other disciplines?
Nona Limmen: Even though the creative gene passed down to me from my family, I didn’t feel the same connection with painting or illustrating as I felt with photography (besides, I was terrible at both anyway). I think that sometimes in people’s lives something undefinable pushes them to do something. For me it was like that with photography.
Eventually, the seed was planted when my mother gave me one of her analog cameras. I mastered it to the point of getting addicted to photography, and my poor family and friends had to be subjected to it non stop.
Photography became a personal emotion for me tied to nostalgia and happy moments. It helped me capture anything I felt was important to remember or treasure. I am the biggest melancholic, and taking pictures became the tool for me to connect more with my thoughts and feelings through visuals that I couldn’t always manage with words. It was the most natural thing to take up.
How do you engage and communicate with Mother Nature?
Nona Limmen: I respect and honor Mother Nature with all my being. Her impervious ancient beauty and vibrancy makes me feel incredibly small, insignificant and sometimes even a little embarrassed. For example, there are moments in life where I find myself becoming self-absorbed. I tend worry about my future, I get agitated over insignificant details and occasionally pursue things that lead solely to superficial pleasure and momentarily comfort.
The permanence of the natural world prompts reflection about my own mortality and renews my perspective about what’s truly important. Life’s cycles come and go, and it’s not paying any attention to anyone, it just simply is. Everything shifts, ages and dies. With me, or without me. The natural world is eternal and I’m not.
Mother Nature grounds me, and subtly bursts that inflated ego. She continuously reminds me I’m just a tiny part of something so much bigger, an unimaginable force of interconnectedness that binds us all together. There is something incredibly comforting in that.
What would Nona Limmen like to disseminate with her art to humanity?
Nona Limmen: I hope to move people and communicate to them with thought-provoking images. My intention is not only to create a visually pleasing photos, but to tell a story that would make the viewer feel something from deep within; to stir something hidden in someone, maybe even throw them off, just to have done something to affect some kind of initial change or reaction. It goes beyond its purely decorative aspect, but instead, I hope it turns into an honest exchange between myself and the viewer. Like something they have been longing to feel or say that’s suddenly expressed before them.
For me personally, art is about healing, connection, and collective power. I also noticed a connection between my work as a photographer and being an ex-therapist. For over more than twelve years I dove deeply into my commitment to healing and helping others as a psychotherapist. I worked with their internal worlds, and made contact with some of the most painful aspects of human nature and life in general. Both fields involve a commitment to understanding emotional behavior and shadow work.
About two and a half years ago I have laid down this beautiful job to pick up my camera full-time, but my goal remained the same. To provide a lifeline to the people who may feel isolated and alone in their suffering, to help others embrace their shadow self, to motivate them to go the direction no one else is going, and to hold on to their dreams despite the disappointments and difficulties they may encounter. It feels impossible to convey the depth of gratitude and joy that both jobs deliver(ed), and as long as I exist, I will continue to being in service of this beautiful journey.
Nona Limmen’s Official Webstore Page: here
Nona Limmen’s Instagram Page: @nonalimmen
And to Dear Nona Limmen, I am eternally grateful who touches my life tenderly.
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