Bas Jan Ader
(1942 - 1975)
Broken fall (organic), Amsterdam Bos, Holland, 1971-1994
Silver gelatin print
46 x 63.6 cm
The Estate of Bas Jan Ader / Mary Sue Ader Andersen and Meliksetian | Briggs,
This photograph captures the moment of the artist falling into a creek after several minutes of struggling to maintain his grip on a tree branch. The entire event was documented in a video work of the same title. As in many of his works, Bas Jan Ader offers a deadpan commentary on the notion of failure and its relation to free will and determinism, represented many times in his oeuvre by his falling body, most often into bodies of water in Amsterdam or elsewhere. In these works which point to tragedy as much as farce, Ader places the emphasis is on the act of falling itself, where accidents and risk are clearly inevitable. In 1975, he set sail from Massachusetts, attempting to cross the Atlantic as part of a piece he titled In Search of the Miraculous. The artist never arrived at his destiny.