Recently I’ve come across the work of Bas Jan Ader. Though he produced only a limited amount of work, all of it is interesting! All Of My Clothes is a photograph of all the artist’s clothes on his roof. It speaks of personal made public, absence and what remains. The focus of his practise was around the concept of falling, and more specifically, of failing. He made five fall films and took various photographs, each concerned with different aspects of will, determinism and the power of nature. Ader’s belief in authenticity and action are something we share. The importance of action is becoming pertinent to my practice, as is the relationship between action and document. I am interested in juxtaposing elements creating new and varied meanings: fragments together, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
His work is both absurd and romantic, and he was not very successful or well known. Though his sudden disappearance in 1975 may have played a large role in his under appreciation during his life, and recent re-examination.
On July 9 1975, Ader set sail from Chatham, Massachusetts for Falmouth, England, but was never seen again. The trans-atlantic sail was part two of a piece called, In Search of The Miraculous.
Some suspected Ader of an elaborate stunt, some claim he intended to kill himself, while others think he always intended to arrive, but that something went horribly wrong. Regardless of his intentions, the work, and his entire oeuvre, are interpreted in light of his disappearance, lending an aura of the artist that may otherwise have been there. Is there anything more romantic than an artist dying for his art?
As part of my group live project, I made a small homage to Bas Jan Ader on the southbank.