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Guido van der Werve is a Dutch filmmaker and artist whose work has been exhibited and screened widely, finding recognition in both the art and film world. He is best known for documented performances in which he pushes his body to its physical limits, accompanied by classical musical arrangements – often composed by himself. Among the feats of incredible endurance and peril the artist has performed—standing on the North Pole for 24 hours, completing a 1500 kilometer triathlon, setting himself on fire, being hit by a speeding car—he finds moments of serenity and even banality in each rendition. 

Van der Werve started out as a performance artist but unwilling to perform live and more than once, he began to document his performances. Developing this practice, he became interested in film and cinematography, where he found a similar emotional directness as in music. The foundation of Van der Werve’s work is performance, but he has incorporated music, text, and athletics as recurring elements. Thus far, van der Werve has created fifteen elaborate video works, all of which are numbered in Dutch and subtitled in English. Van der Werve is currently working on a new full-length feature film.

Guido van der Werve (b. 1977 in Papendrecht, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam (NL), Berlin (DE) and Hassi (FI). He studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (NL) from 1998 until 2003 and he was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (NL) in 2006 and 2007. He took part in the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York (US) in 2008. In 2011, Van der Werve was a resident at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (DE) in 2011. Van der Werve has also studied Industrial Design at the Technical Univerity, Delft (NL); Classical Archaeology at the University of Amsterdam (NL); Russian language, culture and literature at the University of Amsterdam (NL) and he is trained as a classical pianist at the Rotterdam Conservatory (NL).

The artist has received many awards including the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs in 2007 (NL); the Grant to Artists of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, NY (US) in 2008; the Prix International d’Art Contemporain of the Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco in 2010 (MC); the Charlotte Koehler Prijs from the Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds in 2012 (NL) and the Grand Prix (Gouden Kalf) for Best Short Film at the Netherlands Film Festival in 2013. 

Van der Werve’s work has been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (US); Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery, Kyoto (JP); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (US); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); Kunsthalle, Basel (CH); Tel Aviv Art Museum, Tel Aviv (IL); Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (TW); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (DK); the High Line in New York, NY (US); Fluentum, Berlin (DE), and in many other venues and festivals. 

His work can be found in the collections of international institutions such as: Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY (US); Sammlung Goetz in Munich (DE); The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC (US); Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (NL); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam (NL); Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar (NL); Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, TX (US); Zabludowicz Collection in London (UK); Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin (IT) and others. 

Van der Werve’s musical compositions have been performed live by various orchestral arrangements including: Fluentum in Berlin (DE); the Matangi Quartet at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (NL); the American Symphony Orchestra at MoMA/PS1 in New York, NY (US); the St. Louis Philharmonic at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, MO (US) and the Orchestra of Europe at the Clara Kirche in Basel (CH).