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Stedelijk Museum presents new video work by Guido van der Werve
Guido van der Werve, Nummer veertien, home, 2012, videostill. Courtesy Guido van der Werve/Galerie Juliette Jongma.
AMSTERDAM.- The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is presenting the ambitious new video project by Dutch artist Guido van der Werve (1977), on view starting 25 January 2013.

Number Fourteen, home (2012) interweaves multiple narrative threads: a poetic portrayal of Van der Werve’s memories of his childhood home in Papendrecht, the life of his childhood hero, Alexander the Great, as well as a report of a grueling, near-impossible athletic feat: a triathlon covering more than 1,500 kilometers. The artist swims, bikes and runs from the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw to the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. The journey metaphorically bridges the gap between composer Frédéric Chopin’s official grave and the repository of Chopin’s heart. The composer’s sister spirited his heart back to Poland after his death, to be buried in the soil of his native land. Van der Werve, a classically trained concert pianist, has found inspiration in the music of Chopin since his youth.

The film travels through breathtaking landscapes as the artist doggedly completes the triathlon, interspersed with images of the historic sites relating to Alexander the Great’s epic campaign—a journey from which Alexander never returned. These are worlds that are entirely alien to Van der Werve, who grew up in a mundane Dutch suburb with typical sixties-style architecture. And it is in these landscapes that the film tips into the sublime.

Van der Werve also composed the score —a romantic twelve-movement classical requiem. He offers us a haunting, poetic odyssey that lingers on such themes as nostalgia, melancholy and romantic yearning. Seeking to know the limits of human endurance, Van der Werve endorses the Romantic ideal of the artist as hero, positioning himself within a tradition of performance art that attempts to breach mental barriers through physical exhaustion.

Guido van der Werve completed his studies in art at the Rietveld Academie and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. He has become internationally renowned for his (video) works numbered in sequence of production. His rapidly growing oeuvre of satirical yet deadpan video work, in which he often plays the protagonist, investigates such themes as melancholy and alienation. Van der Werve often composes the music that accompanies his films. He was the recipient of the 2012 Charlotte Köhler Award for visual art. Van der Werve’s work is represented in numerous international museum collections including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, De Hallen in Haarlem, Goetz Sammlung in Munich, the MoMA in New York and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC.

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