For thousands of years, artists have tried to make the world more beautiful, to elevate people and to surpass nature. The internationally renowned artist herman de vries (alkmaar, 1931) works differently: he shows nature itself. Framed ears of corn, earth rubbed onto paper, tree stumps, rosebuds, stones: he makes us look at them with different eyes. de vries sees himself as a mediator: “nature is art – I show it.”
i walk, therefor i am
For fifty years herman de vries has lived in southern Germany, on the edge of the Steigerwald. This forest is his natural art residence of two hundred square kilometres. On his daily walks he collects everything that comes in his way, including animal bones and waste, just like he did on his many travels.
simplicity / transformation
In the studio, de vries organizes his finds. He likes simplicity and clarity. He does not use capital letters, in his universe everything is equal, even letters. What he makes is sober and pure. Chance, transformation and change are life frames that no one can step out of: “the whole world is in a continuous process of transformation and nothing is lost.”
Perishing versus passing
Perishing (‘vergankelijkheid’) is a nice word, but herman de vries thinks passing (‘vergaan’) is more beautiful, “that is active, it contains movement and future.” Death and decay make way for new life, in a different form. This exhibition is like a mirror that gently confronts us with our mortality. We don't have to be gloomy about that, de vries believes, “when life ends, life goes on, ceaselessly.”
For the first time an exhibition from herman de vries is solely devoted to mortality. How appropriate to be hosted bij Tot Zover, the museum about death on Amsterdams' finest cemetery De Nieuwe Ooster. From the galleryspace the treetops and shrubbery of the old cemetery is clearly seen, reclaimed historic animal gravemarkers line the glass facade.
During the exhibition, artist and area geographer PJ Roggeband, will host special CONSOLATION tours on sundays in the cemetery. Experimental and associative walks with special trees as headliners. Dates will follow soon!
Magazine herman de vries * vergaan
On the occasion of the exhibition the magazine herman de vries * vergaan is published. This catalogue-light contains in depth articles and columns about the artist, the theme and also an overview of all exhibited works. Authors: tommy wieringa, cees de boer, guus sluiter, dirk porschman, pj roggeband, ellen koller, carlijn mens, jesper buursink, maarten moll. Design: Roos Bekkenkamp. Pages: 48. It is for sale in the museumshop for €7,50. Dutch only.
concept en selectie: herman de vries en dirk pörschmann
projectleiding en eindverantwoording: guus sluiter
tentoonstellingsontwerp: laura cramwinckel
tentoonstellingsinrichting: jeroen bijl / studio bijlbuschmann
zaalteksten: guus sluiter en laura cramwinckel
audiotour: jesper buursink
educatie: laura cramwinckel
artwork, marketing en communicatie: lizz heijn
De tentoonstelling herman de vries * vergaan komt mede tot stand dankzij financiele bijdragen van het AFK, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds21, Zabawas, DELA en Monuta.