herman de vries
to be all ways to be

Dutch entry to the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale

The Mondriaan Fund announces that the presentation ‘to be all ways to be’ by visual artist herman de vries (1931) and curators Colin Huizing (1965) and Cees de Boer (1955), will be the Dutch entry for the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale, which is to take place in 2015. With this decision The Mondriaan Fund follows the conclusion of the special jury, selecting the herman de vries and Huizing/De Boer plans from a longlist of 56 and a shortlist of 5 proposals.

The presentation developed by herman de vries, Colin Huizing and Cees de Boer was selected because of the outstanding quality of the artist's work and the relevance of the proposal. The Rietveld Pavilion will house recent artworks and installations, including new works especially produced by de vries from within the Venetian habitat: the city, the famous Lagoon and its deserted and overgrown islands. As herman de vries considers the diversity within nature to be the ultimate reality model, one of the concepts underlying de vries' work is that of nature taking over culture from the inside; another important concept in his presentation will be the immanent poetry of the process of nature.

The jury was fascinated by the urgency of de vries’ work and perspective, and expects this presentation to be a powerful combination of austerity and poetry, an intimate as well as a highly topical presentation within the context of the Biennale and all its many events. herman de vries himself considers this to be a unique opportunity to make his statement on this prominent and internationally renowned platform.

The relationship between man, culture and nature is increasingly becoming a subject of (artistic) research within the visual arts - a theme on which de vries has been working for decades. For more than 60 years now he has been developing a highly versatile oeuvre in which art, science and philosophy are confronted with the world’s, and especially nature's reality. The theme of his work is topical in an age in which ecological issues can count on an ever broadening attention from the general public.

Autumn 2014 the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam will host the retrospective exhibition ‘herman de vries. all' (curator: Colin Huizing, advisor: Cees de Boer) in combination with the exhibition 'herman de vries. no thing' at the Schiedam Ketelfactory. Works by herman de vries are also included in this year's 'ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s' at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; in 2015 this exhibition will travel to the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The four other shortlist proposals were: ‘Ellen Gallagher. Hairdresser Salon’ by Roel Arkesteijn; 'Yael Davids, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and others' by Frédérique Bergholtz; 'De Staat van Erik’ by Xander Karskens; and ‘Rineke Dijkstra’ by Hripsime Visser and Bart Rutten. The jury was impressed by all the plans, together demonstrating a rich picture of the vitality, topicality and diversity of the visual arts in the Netherlands.

The jury comprised Hester Alberdingk Thijm (Director, AkzoNobel Art Foundation), Saskia Bos (Dean, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art), Aernout Mik (visual artist) and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen (Curator, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). The Chair is Birgit Donker, Director of Mondriaan Fund.

The Biennale will take place from 9 May to 22 November 2015.
herman de vries, mesa, 1996-2007, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke …
herman de vries, mesa, 1996-2007, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke
herman de vries, wintergräser (32 parts), 2013, collection Middlebury College Art Museum, Vermont, USA (courtesy Galerie Borzo, Amsterdam).…
herman de vries, wintergräser (32 parts), 2013, collection Middlebury College Art Museum, Vermont, USA (courtesy Galerie Borzo, Amsterdam).
herman de vries, isola (picture of work in progress).
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herman de vries, isola (picture of work in progress).
herman de vries, isola (picture of work in progress)…
herman de vries, isola (picture of work in progress)
herman de vries, earth (la gomera).…
herman de vries, earth (la gomera).
herman de vries, ruimtelijke toevalsstructuur, 1965, styrofoam, wire, 495 x 350 x 350 cm, collection Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Photo: Tom Haartsen.
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herman de vries, ruimtelijke toevalsstructuur, 1965, styrofoam, wire, 495 x 350 x 350 cm, collection Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Photo: Tom Haartsen.