Bas Jan Ader

Bas Jan Ader

Yesterday in Rotterdam I visited the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, which is quite an interesting spot.  Of note was a retrospective of conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader, who disappeared in 1975 while doing a solo sailboat journey across the Atlantic, as part of his “In Search of the Mysterious” project.  At the show there were a number of short films, some photographs (often of similar scenes from the films) as well as other odds and ends.  The photo above is titled “I’m too sad to tell you” and was created as a postcard in 1970.  At the website linked above you can see part of a film done several years later with the same title.

A number of the projects have to do with the concept of ‘falling’; the still below shows the start of his film of him falling off the roof of his house in Los Angeles.  In another he falls on his bicycle into a canal in Amsterdam.  In ‘Nightfall’ he is lit by two lights in a small garage, and he picks up then drops a heavy block on each of the lights, ending in darkness.

Fall - Ader

Apparently there’s quite a cult interest in Ader, and I found the work strangely affecting.

Here’s an Artforum article on Ader from 1999.

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