Critics’ Picks

Anne de Vries, Critical Mass: Pure Immanence, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 9 minutes.

Anne de Vries, Critical Mass: Pure Immanence, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 9 minutes.


Anne de Vries

Foam Fotografiemuseum
Keizersgracht 609
August 28–November 1, 2015

“It may be that believing in this world, in this life, becomes our most difficult task, or the task of a mode of existence still to be discovered on our plane of immanence today. This is the empiricist conversion.” So Gilles Deleuze wrote in 1991, subsequently inspiring Dutch artist Anne de Vries to make his new video Critical Mass: Pure Immanence, 2015, shown in this substantial solo presentation. In addition to this work are three-dimensional sculptures for which the artist bought objects such as sneakers and shaving knives, bent or reworked them, and then photographed and printed them on PETG paper or PVC. Steps of Recursion on Rail — ICG, 2012, for instance, consists of photographs of blue-and-white sneakers—reminiscent of Dutch Delft Blue porcelain—that are elegantly draped and wrapped around a delicate metal construction. The objects the artist chooses are, through merchandising, propagated as products of innovation. However, by decontextualizing them, de Vries seems to emphasize an ideal about the smooth, undamaged, synthetic world that they express.

The vast array of works in this show address a unifying theme: exploring how digital technologies are embedded in everyday life and feed the human desire to surpass the limitations of body and mind, leading to a manipulated reality. Critical Mass is a combination of video footage and a 3-D visualization of large anonymous crowds at festivals dancing to entrancing electronic music under a blanket of elaborate laser shows. Through the music’s lyrics, melody, and perpetual rhythms, the video celebrates and examines the desire for a certain universality of transcendental behavior: a pure immanence.