'For 'Nummer Negen, the day I didn’t turn with the world', 2007, Van der Werve stood still for 24 hours on the geographical north pole, shuffling slowly, rotating in a circle as the world revolved the other way – anticlockwise – beneath him. The film is shot in timelapse, compressed into eight minutes or so, showing him jerking about, trying to keep warm. He used the same methods as the guards at Buckingham Palace, he says, and listened to audiobooks to help beat the boredom.' - John-Paul Stonard, ‘Burned, frozen, winched, dangled and hit by a car: the shocking extreme art of Guido van der Werve’, The Guardian, 15 Sept 2017
Guido van der Werve (b. 1977) initially worked only as a performance artist, but he refused to perform any work more than once. Van der Werve began to document his performances, which helped him transition into film and cinematography, and allowed him to experiment with different mediums. Van der Werve’s works still mainly revolve around performance, but he now adds music, text, sport and atmospheric scenes as returning elements. In 2007, he also started to compose his own music.
As of 2021, Van der Werve has created fifteen elaborate works, which have been exhibited and screened widely. He has garnered recognition both in the art and in the film world. Van der Werve has received many awards, including the Volkskrant Beeldende kunst prijs in 2007, and he has been exhibited extensively in venues like the Kunsthalle Basel, MoMA/PS1, the Venice Biennial, Performa, the Moscow Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial and Manifesta.
PRESS ‘For twenty-four hours, starting on April 28, 2007, our blue planet went one way and Guido van der Werve went the other. Compressing that day into eight minutes and forty seconds of time-lapse photography transferred to high-definition video, 'Nummer negen: The day I didn’t turn with the world', 2007, shows the black-clad Dutchman standing on tundra at the North Pole, dwarfed - in the static composition - by blank icescape and endless blue sky. Making gestures that semaphore frozen discomfort, the artist slowly shuffles clockwise. Meanwhile, as evidenced by the sun’s accelerated passage from left to right behind him, the earth spins counterclockwise on its axis. Accompanied by low bursts of arctic wind, a rhapsodic and rambling Chopinesque piano etude tickles our ears throughout: van der Werve, an accomplished classical pianist, playing one of his own compositions.
In watching and listening, interpretative thought turns schizoid. The worldly half of me understands that 'Nummer negen' takes some beating as an overripe analogy for away-from-the-pack contrarianism, with its outmoded, Caspar David Friedrich-indebted conception of the solitary sublime. But the other half - the unhip half, which responds almost involuntarily to gestures that evoke both human insignificance and our contrary potential to broach self-knowledge by communing with vastness - that side is seduced. Conflicted? Absolutely, and I have to assume the artist who engineered this balancing act is too.’ - Martin Herbert 'Nummer negen', Art Forum, May 2009
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