Jon Tarry | Catching the Moment

Catching the Moment | Jon Tarry

Jon Tarry Summer exhibition
Catching the Moment. Creating Understanding in Twelve moves  (One of Twelve)

Date: 15.07 – 25.08


24/7 Summer exhibition
@SEA Foundation


Text by
Rebecca Niculae




18.07.2019 – Stadnieuws Tilburg
15.07.2019 – Tilburgse Koerier
11.07.2019 – Artrabbit, Berlin, DE
11.07.2019 – Omroep Tilburg



Catching the Moment

In the work of Jon Tarry there seems to be a recurrent element present. A crumpled piece of paper takes the foreground, blends itself with its surroundings, or seems to register a brief moment where the paper coincidentally passes the lens. However, the viewer will notice almost immediately that the images are not purely photographical, but are digitally edited. Within this series, the artist investigates the interplay of space and time, wherein the crumpled piece of paper is observed as “potential” or a “temporal membrane”. The paper itself contains the starting point of possibilities for the unknown destinations. Tarry states:

“A sheet of crumpled paper is carried through the air. The inscribed may be an itinerary, a shopping list, a poem, notes of a musical score, a parking infringement, a love letter, artist brief, set of instructions, or completely blank. The papers flight path is indeterminate, where it lands is unknown.”

More than Meets the Eye

The series is titled Catching the Moment. This raises the question: Was the moment witnessed or is there more than meets the eye? It does not seem to be a real when we admit that there was an intervention done afterwards. After all, ‘a registration’ implies the transcription of data, which has to be recorded as ‘authentic’ as possible in order to correspond to reality. That’s how it has been. Then, at that moment in that place. Any form of alteration or interpretation of this data turns a blind eye. Tarry describes this work as a form of poetry. A way of understanding something by doing. But how can we understand the work through the experiential lens of the spectator?

Structure of Experiences

Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy that studies the structure of experiences. Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938) is regarded by many as the forefather of this movement. For Husserl, phenomenology means the study of how things (phenomena) appear to our consciousness.

Husserl states that it would be impossible to experience an object when only the now were given. For Husserl, all temporal objects appear to us within a threefold structure, which, in short, makes it possible to experience the unity of an object. For example, every “now moment” is subject to change, and with that it evaporates into something that has been, which we then experience at this moment. In addition, the now moment is intertwined with the impression of the moment that has yet to come.

Although physical objects are concealed by our consciousness in terms of ‘profiles’ or ‘aspects’ (Husserl uses the term ‘adumbrations’), we can experience physical objects, for example a chair, as a unity, and not just within fragments, through the threefold structure of consciousness. The flow of consciousness is continuous, and within it different perceptions of the same object can arise. Husserl emphasizes that experience takes place within the empirical world: material objects have an independence of their own, they persist even without our perception. How the object appears as a phenomenon can change precisely because they appear as such to my consciousness.


The prints of Tarry metaphorically ask questions about the course of our experiences, and how something takes shape within time and space. In the first place, the prints are physical. Made from paper and ink. It is by way of synthesis of the print and the interpretation of the viewer that the work is given meaning. The paper that is carried by the wind is just a snapshot which we know will necessarily pass. Ingredients such as the use of sequence and repetition suggest a progression of events over time.

Interpretation and Meaning

To capture the moment according to Husserl always means the now moment that is embedded within the temporal dimension of what has just been, and the intuition of what is to come. Therefore if we read the crumpled piece of paper as the main character in the story, the print series almost becomes a theory that has encapsulated itself in the images. The now moment that is inextricably linked to the moment that has just passed and through the different layers, and the unknown origin and destination of the paper the impression of what follows, shows itself in the images. In addition, Catching the Moment emphasizes a gesture that goes beyond that of the maker. Looking, or more precisely, reading the image that is accompanied by interpretation and meaning, is the moment in which the viewer catches the image by perceiving it.

This catching is subject to change. The flow of consciousness is continuous, and, as a consequence, each and every one of us can have contrasting interpretations and meanings of the same object. Even if we only think about them, Tarry’s prints will continue to persist. Physically as well as in a modified form within our consciousness. The work of Jon Tarry at SEA Foundation allows for it to be read in this way.

The images in the series ‘Catching the Moment’ are records of a number of locations seen during The Artist in Residency at SEA Foundation (AiR Tilburg)


  • Husserl, E. (1991).
    “On The Phenomenology Of The Consciousness of Internal Time (1893-1917)”. Translation: Brough, J. B., Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.
  • Zahavi, D. (2003).
    “Husserl’s Phenomenology. Cultural Memory in the Present. ” Eds: Bal, M. & de Vries, H., Stanford University Press: Stanford, California.

Catching the Moment

See the publication in our shop
Comes in a box
12 x A3 Black and white
and an additional text sheet
Printed digitally on Hahnemuhle German Etching 310 grams.
Numbered and signed by Jon Tarry 2019
Edition of seven

Or read more on Jon Rarry’s residence at SEA Foundation.

Jon Tarry Summer exhibition