Philipp von Rosen

Among the Leaves

08 Sep - 22 Dec 2012

Bas Jan Ader
I'm too sad to tell you, 1971
16 mm film transferred on DVD
3:34 min
(Video still)
Courtesy Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Bas Jan Ader, Walter Dahn, Pieter Laurens Mol, Daan van Golden
8 September – 22 December 2012

We are proud to open the group exhibition Among the Leaves with Bas Jan Ader, Walter Dahn, Pieter Laurens Mol and Daan van Golden on September 7 at 6pm.

The exhibition highlights a so far unrecognized relation of the four artists, which is much more than only a geographic closeness of Dahn, who was born in the Niederrhein region at the border to the Netherlands. It’s a relation which is rather based in the mutual artistic strategies, which could be described with the term poetic concept art. None of them was focused on only one specific media. They were rather choosing the media freely depending on the individual needs of an art piece. In doing so, they were transferring the techniques of the concept art like photography and text to use them for a tragic / poetic content.

Bas Jan Ader (born 1942 in Winschoten, NL - disappeared 1975 in the Atlantic ocean) lived between California and Amsterdam since 1963. As part of the more and more establishing art scene at the West Coast, he realised between 1967 and 1975 mostly serial film and photographical works. A substantial part of these 16mm-films, photographs, slide projections and videos consist of an interpretation of the self in which he deals with, for instance, the metaphorical term of "falling" or the romantic topos of "searching". A search of the miraculous, which climaxed sadly in the self-mythologizing act of disappearing in the open sea in 1975.

Walter Dahn (born 1954 close to the Dutch border) studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a student of Joseph Beuys. By the end of the 1980s he turned away from painting to focus again on photography, which he was using in a painterly way for his screenprints and as an autonomous medium. With the photography he could raise something that can be considered seemingly self-evident or neglected to the status of an icon. Instead of "expression" strategies like "selection" and "composition" took hold of his art. For his method of arranging found objects and color patterns he coined the term "conceptual painting". Already in earlier interviews he had talked about the influence of the Dutch landscape and the Dutch artists like Pieter Bruegel or Hieronymus Bosch on his work. The affinity towards sayings that can be found in their paintings is to be found also in his early paintings of the 1980ies.

Pieter Laurens Mol was born 1946 in Breda, NL. After being educated as a carpenter and in ivory carving he studied at the Academy of Breda. With the first exhibitions in the gallery of Paul Andriesse he became known as an artist who deducted new strategies from the combinative methods of the surrealists to find images for an existence of extreme. According to this he staged himself on photographs of passing or transient material such as smoke or shadows, which he describes as 'photo-sculpture'. Like other conceptual artists of the late 1960s he uses the medium of photography not for the depiction of reality but for the visualisation of ideas.

Daan Van Golden (*1936) studied at the Academy of Rotterdam. Since the 1960s a connection to other movements of that time, namely pop art, concept art and appropriation, can be traced throughout his art without committing himself to either one of them. Moreover, he used single elements of these movements in his works to question fundamental issues like the beauty of the everyday world or the discovery of the existential features of the material.

Tags: Bas Jan Ader, Joseph Beuys, Walter Dahn, Daan van Golden, Pieter Laurens Mol