RKD Netherland Institute for art History
herman de vries (1931) began making informal drawings and monochrome paintings 65 years ago. Today he ranks among the most important living artists.* In honour of one of ‘the last ZERO artists on earth’, the RKD ─ Netherlands Institute for Art History , in collaboration with See All This magazine, is publishing the mini monograph HERMAN DE VRIES: TOEVAL BESTAAT WEL! (herman de vries: chance does exist!) on 15 March 2018.
In the course of the years, herman de vries (as he signs himself without capitals) has assembled an extensive archive as well as one of Europe’s largest libraries of psychedelic plants. Together with his ‘nature archive’ these form an integral part of his artistry. Later this year, herman de vries will be handing over his complete archive, including the library of narcotic plants, to the RKD.
In HERMAN DE VRIES: TOEVAL BESTAAT WEL! the artist takes the reader on a journey through his beloved Steigerwald, a village of 180 residents near Eschenau, in the hills of northern Bavaria. He came upon the place in 1970 and made it his home. Since then he has been working on his impressive oeuvre, using nature in and around Steigerwald as his principal source of inspiration and working materials. According to herman de vries, ‘The greatest quality of visual art is that it can articulate something that cannot be captured by language. Art can therefore express the basic principle of the world: unity’.
Apart from a personal introduction to the artist, the mini monograph also presents a portfolio of his work and a guide to making your own ‘herman de vries’. In the section Expeditie de vries the reader is invited to join the artist on one of his ‘experiential journeys’, which over the course of his career have taken in such places as Africa, the Seychelles, India, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. In the section Geestbewegend (moving the psyche) de vries dwells on six hallucinogenic drugs that he likes, ranging from Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) to LSD.