Friday, August 5, 2011

Bas Jan Ader

Bas Jan Ader is the second artist that I present today, that inspired me a lot at a turning point, just in the phase, when I stopped painting and was approaching more conceptual art.
To me it's one of those artists, that seems to express exactly what you're feeling, like meeting something familiar, that was already there, that just had to be uncovered, something that you think you knew already from before.
I realised then, that making art can be also something that needs no skills and that stories can be told in a total different way and still make sense and touch you.

Bas Jan Ader worked mainly with photography and video work. Being a part of the whole conceptual art movement in the late 60ies, early 70ies, his art is dealing with failing and falling.
He was the founder of the "Gravity Art", what's about giving yourself over to Gravity, to let go (of your control) and to find and define this one moment and turn it into eternity. His works have titles like "Fall I", Fall II", "Broken Fall (Organic)", Broken Fall (Geometric).
Born in 1942 in a village in the Netherlands, he moved to USA in the 60ies where he was studying art and starting his carrier. Unfortunately his Oevre is not very big, since he died (or disappeared) already in 1975, during his last project "In search of the miraculous", a try to sail over the Atlantic Ocean in a really tiny boat, to go back to Holland. It was planned to be a Trilogy. The first part showed the preparations for the trip, the last part should be his arrival in Holland. Apparently he died on the trip, even if his body was never found and the circumstances of the trip were quite mysterious. He might have planned his death or his disappaerence, but it's staying unclear. But nevertheless, this work can be seen as a masterpiece in a row of art works dealing with failing and falling and the romantic strive towards the unreachable horizon.


  1. Cool! But morbid stuff, if he really set out to 'fail' with his sailing and deliberately drowned for the sake of art... or maybe he just staged it nicely and has been sitting incognito on a South American beach drinking cocktails for the last 30 years... :)

  2. ...also, I really like the photos, both because of the subject matter and because of the beautiful warm, organic 60's/70's celluloid tone... they're quite magical!

  3. Well, you never know... apparently there were a lot of confusions when to find out what actually has happened on the boat. Here's some more information, if you're interested: