Ger van Elk, 1941–2014

Dutch pioneer of conceptualism dies

Ger Van Elk, The Co-Founder of the Word O.K.—Marken (No. 5), 1971, chromogenic colour print., 70 x 70 cm.  Photo: Michiel van Nieuwkerk. ©  the artist

The Dutch artist Ger van Elk has died. The news was confirmed by his gallery, Grimm, Amsterdam. Working in photography, paint, film, sculpture or installation, van Elk is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Conceptual art and became known through his participation in When Attitudes Become Form in Bern and Op losse schroeven in Amsterdam in 1969. In the early 1960s van Elk lived for a couple of years in Los Angeles, sharing a house with the artist Bas Jan Ader, a formative period in the artist's practice. Ron Kaal writes 'This period marked a reexamination of himself as an artist. Everything he was taught and had experienced in the Netherlands was turned upside down. The juxtaposition of body and soul, form and content, art and kitsch turned out to be not absolute... everything revolves around the concept; its realization was of lesser importance.'

20 August 2014