Guido van der Werve: 4+5+9=18

Installation Views
Press release

GRIMM is proud to present 4+5+9=18, a solo exhibition by Guido van der Werve opening on 20 April 2023 in Amsterdam. The exhibition comprises three new video works, individual Acts related to the artist’s first feature film Nummer achttien which premiered in theaters in March 2023.

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 physical efforts as recurring elements. Thus far, the artist has created seventeen elaborate video works, all of which are numbered in Dutch and subtitled in English.

In 2023 Van der Werve presented his first feature film titled Nummer achttien - the breath of life. After a near-fatal accident, the artist muses about the highs and lows of his own life as he endures a long process of recovery. The movie is structured as a series of movements: it departs from the classical documentary to present us with a series of vignettes that combine past and present, existentialist despair and deadpan humour, existentialist despair and deadpan humour, reflection and creativity, the joys and pains of remembering and forgetting.

About the artist

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, NY (US) in 2008. The artist 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 was trained as a classical pianist by the Rotterdam Conservatory (NL).

His work can be found in the collections of international institutions such as: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (US); Fondazione Giuliani, Rome (IT); Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (NL); Galleria d‘Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin (IT); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (US); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL); Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht (NL); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (US); Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL); M Woods Museum, Beijing (CN); Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, Amsterdam (NL); The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, TX (US); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam (NL); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL) and the Zabludowicz Collection, London (UK) among others.