Experiments in Eco-poiesis: herman de vries and an Art of Immediacy

Roberdeau, Wood. 2022. Experiments in Eco-poiesis: herman de vries and an Art of Immediacy. In: Fröydi Laszlo, ed. The Anthropocene Laboratory. Gothenburg: Förlaget 284. [Book Section] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

For decades, visual artist herman de vries has invested in a principle of reduction or what might be understood as an eco-mimetic worldview that I would distinguish from this kind of abstraction. Departing from his involvement with the neo-avant-garde ZERO group of the late 1950s and early 1960s, which focused on the ‘deconditioning’ of the viewer through the enhanced presentation of the ‘zero-point’, ‘open gate’, or ontological transparency of things, the former botanist turned from his peers’ interest in the Cold War aesthetics of the Space Race to natural objects and materials and to phenomenological questions of perception, allowing him to explore alternative pathways to knowledge through a wide variety of gestures, assemblages, and installations. In this chapter, I explore a transition that occurred during the mid-1970s alongside shifts within environmental aesthetics and politics from then and now. By featuring The Meadow (1986-2018), I argue that the artist’s ‘deep’ ecological perspective also raises important ‘solastalgic’ questions when read in conjunction with the materialist turn championed by Karen Barad and others. Ultimately, the chapter seeks to determine how de vries’s definition of ‘art’ continues to inform the challenges facing a human and more than human set of co-produced proximities and direct entanglements, the testimony or witnessing of which proves a positive environmental relationality within this ‘lab’ that some have called the Anthropocene.

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Visual Cultures



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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2022 11:37

Last Modified:

20 Sep 2022 15:53



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