Ger van Elk Dutch, 1941-2014


'A work of art exists of the components idea and material. One does not stand apart from the other. I chose for a good concept and the best way to give form to that concept'. (Exhibition catalogue, 'Op het tweede gezicht: Ger van Elk', Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1979)


Ger van Elk (1941-2014) worked with various media. Photography, film, assemblage, canvas, rope, wood; the media he used depended on the idea he had in mind. His subject matter often came from art itself. What is the position of the artist? How do we look at the reality surrounding us? What determines our vision? Questions Van Elk often asked himself. His approach was serious and humoristic at the same time.


Together with Jan Dibbets and Marinus Boezem, Ger van Elk formed the core group of Conceptual art in The Netherlands. Most significant for Van Elks association with conceptual art was his participation in the 1968 exhibition 'Rassegna d' Arti Figurative 3: Arte Povera + Azioni Povere' in Amalfi and in 1969 in the concurrent avant-garde surveys 'Op Losse Schroeven/situaties en cryptostructuren' at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum and 'When Attitudes Become Form: Works-Concepts- Processes- Situations- Information', which travelled from Bern to Krefeld to London. In 1972, Van Elk was one of the seventy-five participants, running from Acconci, Ader and Baldessari to Warhol, Wegman and Weiner, in the Düsseldorf staged 'Prospekt 71/Projektion' dedicated to slide projection, video, photo-text, and film. Since then the artist appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and the US.