Untitled #5 1991

At first sight, Untitled #5 presents itself as a minimalist wall sculpture: two long tubular objects hanging on the wall, horizontally, one just above the other. On closer inspection, it strikes you that there is movement in the tubes, in the form of greeny spots of light.

When scrutinised even more closely, the tubes turn out to be alternative cathode-ray tubes - each tube consists of only four lines from a moving video image. But what are you actually looking at? What kind of images are these? It takes concentration and time to find out that you are looking at fragments of faces, alongside, below and above each other.

The images have been subdivided over the two tubes, which are like parts of a large, imaginary video screen. Therefore, you do not see the portraits as a whole, but as if you were scanning the images through two slits. As if you were screwing up your eyes to gain an insight into something very 'difficult'. Only in your mind can you fill in the images and turn them into a whole. It is as if you have to learn to observe all over again; as if you have to rediscover how a meaningful image takes shape.

Untitled #5 takes on an extra dimension if you know that this is actually a self-portrait of Spinhoven, that this is his own image. According to a theory from psychology, identity is not primarily the result of self-reflection, but rather of the image that other people have of you...