Bas Jan Ader
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From Afterall Books / One Work

Bas Jan Ader

In Search of the Miraculous

By Jan Verwoert

An illustrated investigation into the critical motives behind the last, unfinished work that has defined the romantic legacy of conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader.

Distributed for Afterall Books

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Summary

An illustrated investigation into the critical motives behind the last, unfinished work that has defined the romantic legacy of conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader.

In 1975 Bas Jan Ader disappeared at sea while trying to sail from the East Coast of the United States to Europe as part of a project titled In Search of the Miraculous. Ader's considerable influence on later conceptual artists stems from the way in which he used the cool analytic and antisubjective aesthetics of conceptual art to explore experiences that would seem definitively subjective—the emotional intensity of tragedy and the romantic quest for the sublime. In Search of the Miraculous was conceived as a three-part project: a lonely nighttime walk from the hills of Los Angeles down to the sea, documented in photographs; the Atlantic crossing; a night walk through Amsterdam, mirroring the LA photographs.The circumstances of his disappearance have led many interpreters to identify Ader (as a person) with the role of the tragic romantic hero. The cult status of the artist as a hero whose work is authenticated through his death, however, has obscured the fact that Ader's art was a critical investigation of precisely those romantic motives his persona has now come to be identified with. This book unpicks these ties in Ader's work in order to highlight the specific and unique way in which Ader explores the existential and emotional with an artistic approach that is as conceptual and analytic as it is poetic and personal. Afterall Books are distributed by The MIT Press.

Hardcover

Out of Print ISBN: 9781846380198 64 pp. | 8.5 in x 6 in 6 color illus., 12 b&w illus.

Paperback

Out of Print ISBN: 9781846380020 64 pp. | 8.5 in x 6 in 6 color illus., 12 b&w illus.

Reviews

  • The fulsome documentation of Ader's In Search of the Miraculous-a multipart project that ultimately involved the Dutch-born, Los Angeles-based artist's Quixotic and fatal attempt, under the sign of art, to traverse the Atlantic in a small sailboat-is splendidly presented in a little volume published by the British art magazine Afterall.

    Eric Banks

    Bookforum

  • The fulsome documentation of Ader's In Search of the Miraculous-a multipart project that ultimately involved the Dutch-born, Los Angeles-based artist's Quixotic and fatal attempt, under the sign of art, to traverse the Atlantic in a small sailboat-is splendidly presented in a little volume published by the British art magazine Afterall.

    Eric Banks

    Bookforum