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herman de vries at Venice Biennale

herman de vries, mesa, 1996-2007, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. Foto: Marjon Gemmeke

The Mondriaan Fund has announced that the presentation to be all ways to be by visual artist herman de vries (b. 1931) and curators Colin Huizing (b. 1965) and Cees de Boer (b. 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 advice of a jury, selecting the herman de vries and Huizing and De Boer plan from five proposals. 

The presentation developed by herman de vries, Colin Huizing and Cees de Boer was selected because of the 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’s 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’s 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 working on a versatile oeuvre in which art, science and philosophy are confronted with the world’s reality. The theme of his work is topical in an age in which ecological issues can count on broader attention from society.

In 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 jury members were 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 the Mondriaan Fund.

The Mondriaan Fund is responsible for the Dutch entry to the Venice Biennale. For the 56th edition the Mondriaan Fund again issued an open call to curators, who were asked to produce a plan in keeping with a State event.