points and traces – herman de vries

points et traces [points and traces], herman de vries, 1998-2012

After being invited in 1999 by the CAIRN Art Centre, herman de vries has returned several times. Each stay was the occasion for developing a series of works on the local area, including points, traces and  fenêtres [windows].

The traces are brief texts that herman de vries leaves behind him in the landscape like “fragments of philosophies”. These texts are placed for a reason in the middle of nature, in the forest, in a wild place: there is a relation between one place and another. The texts are engraved in stone and the characters are only 2.5 to 4 cm high. They are discreetly placed around an area of about 2,000 square kilometres around Digne.

The points are discreetly placed in relation to the landscape. According to the artist, “the point in space is a place for an argument”. Point in space, starting point, view point, reference point, point in the continuum…

herman de vries* was born in 1931 in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, and he lives and works in Eschenau, in Germany. His work has always been very closely related to the contemplation of nature. Gradually abandoning his work as a naturalist to devote himself to art, herman de vries strives, in his work, to show the universality of landscape and the primary reality of nature. His view of the world is strongly influenced by oriental philosophy (particularly Buddhist and Hindu) and by poetry.

I detest art in nature”, repeats herman de vries. Despite appearances, his works have nothing in common with Land Art. However, we have removed ourselves so far away from nature, we have modified, manipulated and destroyed it so much, we have forgotten so much that nature is art par excellence, which only an additional artifice, that of human art, can help us to find it again. Because we have lost all immediate relationship with nature, we need the additional mediation of art to restore the unity that we once formed with nature.Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, excerpt from La proximité dans la distance (subtitled L’art et la nature chez herman de vries), in herman de vries, published by Fage éditions & Musée Gassendi, 2009

*We comply with the artist’s wish to not use capital letters in his name.

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