Primary Time

  • 1974
  • Bas Jan Ader
  • Video, colour, silent
  • 25 min. 47 s.
In the video, Bas Jan Ader arranges flowers – another Dutch national symbol – into bouquets that are exclusively yellow, then red, then blue, but is dissatisfied with each one, as if Mondrian’s radical abstraction could not compete with the simple beauty of a vase of flowers, a subject open to endless variations as fleeting as life itself.

© Adagp, Paris, 2014. Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Bas Jan Ader

The short career of Bas Jan Ader, a legendary figure of the 1970s, was marked by a few works, photographs and filmed performances, in which he is both the subject and an object of protocols that examine the physical characteristics of the world – weight – as well as emotions – sadness – in an aesthetic similar to early video art.

Repeated falls, tears and gestures acquire, through tiny actions, an existential value. In 1975 the artist died crossing the Atlantic between the United States and Britain, while undertaking his last performance piece entitled In Search of the Miraculous.

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