herman de vries
à mes pieds [at my feet]
1 April – 21 June 2015
Exhibition Commissioner : Nadine Gomez
Exhibition in connection with the 56th Venice Biennial, which began on 9 May 2015, where herman de vries represented his country in the Dutch pavilion. For the CAIRN Art Centre and the Musée Gassendi, this was the occasion to recall this internationally-known artist’s attachment to the richly varied Digne area.
His latest artist’s book entitled à mes pieds published by Éditions Musée Gassendi & CAIRN Art Centre (2014), is on sale in the museum shop (price: €30).
After being invited in 1999 by the CAIRN Art Centre, herman de vries has returned several times. Each stay was the occasion for developing a series of works on the local area, including points, traces and fenêtres [windows]. During his “journeys to Digne”, some remarkable encounters with places and local stories have inspired and sustained his various artistic propositions: Gassendi, black marl, Saint-Jean, Roche-Rousse, Cézanne and Dr Honnorat. All the components of herman de vries’s approach have materialised in the projects completed in Digne through his various projects which invite us to scan the area to look for his discreet, poetic works in gold leaf. This is his way of making us really look at nature in order to renew our bond with it.
herman de vries* was born in 1931 in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, and he lives and works in Eschenau, in Germany. His work has always been very closely related to the contemplation of nature. Gradually abandoning his work as a naturalist to devote himself to art, herman de vries strives, in his work, to show the universality of landscape and the primary reality of nature. His view of the world is strongly influenced by oriental philosophy (particularly Buddhist and Hindu) and by poetry.
“I detest art in nature”, repeats herman de vries. Despite appearances, his works have nothing in common with Land Art. However, we have removed ourselves so far away from nature, we have modified, manipulated and destroyed it so much, we have forgotten so much that nature is art par excellence, which only an additional artifice, that of human art, can help us to find it again. Because we have lost all immediate relationship with nature, we need the additional mediation of art to restore the unity that we once formed with nature.
Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, excerpt from La proximité dans la distance (subtitled L’art et la nature chez herman de vries), in herman de vries, published by Fage éditions & Musée Gassendi, 2009.
*We comply with the artist’s wish to not use capital letters in his name.
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