In the films of the young Dutch artist Guido van der Werve (b. Rotterdam, 1977), episodes from the history of art (especially the life and work of Bas Jan Ader) combine with meditations on melancholy, the sublime, and the occasional moment of slapstick humour. Often sound-tracked by Romantic music played by the artist, a classically trained pianist, these films might be said to belong to a subterranean tradition of 'Romantic Conceptualism, in which philosophical speculation on the limits of what art might be is tempered by an acute awareness of the glory, sadness and absurdity of lived experience. At the Hayward, van der Werve will show his acclaimed works 'Nummer Acht' (2007), in which we see him walking calmly in front of an ice breaker ship as it carves its way through the frozen arctic seas, and 'Nummer Zes' (2006), in which he relates the history of the Steinway piano against the back drop of a dreary Amsterdam day, before performing Chopin's Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor in his tiny Amsterdam with the accompaniment of an orchestra - an action that appears to call a rainbow into being.
Guido van der Werve's recent solo exhibitions include: on parity of days, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2008), Guido van der Werve, De Hallen, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2007), and the clouds are more beautiful from above, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland Oregon, USA (2007). His work was featured in the recent Manifesta 07 (2008), Trentino, Italy, the 2008 Busan Biennale, South Korea, and features in the current 2008 Torino Triennale. He is represented by Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, and Monitor, Rome.
This is Guido van der Werve's first solo show in the UK.