herman de vries
my poetry is the world

30 march 2024 • 05 january 2025

opening to the public : 30 march et 1 p.m

preview saturday 27 april at 11 am


co-curator : fabienne grasser-fulchéri, director of eac., and anne moeglin-delcroix, emeritus professor of philosophy of art at the university of paris 1 panthéon-sorbonne

in partnership with ambulo art and museum group in digne-les-bains (comprised of the musée gassendi, the cairn contemporary art centre, maison alexandra david-neel and the collection d'art en montagne), dourven gallery (trédrez-locquémeau) aline vidal gallery (paris) and the espace de l'art concret have joined forces to run a series of exhibitions and events in 2024 and 2025 which focus on the work of herman de vries.


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the relationship between herman de vries and the espace de l'art concret goes back a very long way.

before the arts centre had even opened, sybil albers and gottfried honegger were familiar with the artist's work, and had acquired several of his works. in 1991, one year after eac. had opened, the terre, vie et poésie exhibition (earth, life and poetry) provided an opportunity for broader collaboration during the artist's residency when he collected over 220 samples of earth from the area around mouans-sartoux. after rubbing them on paper, de vries included them in his earth museum catalogue.

this new monographic exhibition dedicated to herman de vries will highlight the connections the artist has created between his artistic practice and his work as a publisher of artists' books.

the first part of the exhibition will present his work from the 1950s and 1960s, which is expressed through a radically abstract pictorial language that sometimes plays with randomness. a co-founder of Group nul in 1959, in 1960 de vries came into contact with group zero, whose radicalism he shared: rejection of colour, priority given to geometric forms and serial structure.

then from 1970 onwards, through long journeys to india and the seychelles de vries came to discover that true art comes from nature. he formulated this discovery in the follow statement: "my poetry is the world", a statement that to this day has inspired his work.

the exhibition’s second section focuses on these works, in and with nature, in the most concrete sense (plants, earth, stones and shells) and in the broadest sense (human beings, artefacts, traditional practices). herman de vries' vision of the world, which he seeks to share with us, draws upon direct experience of nature (through walking, contemplation and traces left behind) as well as buddhist thought which gives him the tools to reflect on the living interdependence of everything that exists. his artistic work produced at various sites, in particular in the alpes-de-haute-provence, reveals the attention he pays to the identity and history of these places.

a former école normale supérieure student, anne moeglin-delcroix holds a phd and is emeritus professor of philosophy of art at the university of paris 1 panthéon-sorbonne. for over 40 years, she has followed herman de vries’ work and has published several studies of it, including "les choses mêmes" (actual things) (2000), "au-delà du langage" (beyond language) (2005), "proximité dans la distance. l'art et la nature chez herman de vries" (proximity and distance: art and nature in herman de vries) (2009), "ambulo ergo sum: nature as experience in artists' books" (2015), "my poetry is the world" (2019), "le sommet des philosophes" (the philosophers’ summit) (2020).