mercredi 15 février 2012

Yeah I'm still searchin'

Documentary essay 40'  
DV Pal 4/3
+ Book (19,5x13,5) 12 pages 
Non commercial use only / limited edition
Ecole de Recherche Graphique
Bruxelles 2011
(Diffusion : on demand at

Thanks to : Guillaume Désange, Loraine Furter, Annik Leroy, Hannah Geise/Moemlien, Juliette Mélampyre, Jonathan Boutefeu for their support and participation.

Winner of Discovery price at 

"Yeah I'm still searchin '" is a documentary essay taking as its starting point In search of the miraculous last aborted performance work of Bas Jan Ader, dutch conceptual romantic artist. As a quest of the metaphysic that led the artist to his loss, In search of the miraculous was a performative work splitted into three  "acts".

PART I consisted in a night walk in Los Angeles streets in the direction to the sea. It had been reported by photographies  taken by Mary Sue Ader (his wife) and had been exhibited successfuly at Claire Coppley Gallery. PART II consisted in the solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. known as a trained and experimented sailor, Bas Jan, unfortunatly never came back and was lost at sea, after several weeks of radio silence in between Cap Cop (U.S.A) and the british coasts.

In between his disappearance during summer 75' and the early 00' Bas Jan stayed more or less ignored by art circuits, not exhibited and presented and absolutly unknown from larger audiences. But in the early 2000, when his memory suddenly reappeared, Bas Jan inspired a lot of artists who gave tributes and tryed to walk in his shoes.

For my research, I questioned the issue of continuity and validity of a continuum, while considering the fact that the only existing documentary film existing on Bas Jan Ader, "Here is always somewhere else" (2008) had been directed  by Rene Daalder and co-produced by Aaron Ohlmann at the initiative of Mary Ader Sue Anderson, widow and former collaborator of Bas Jan. I got interest in the work of Bas Jan for his melancolic questionning of modernity, mocking at Mondrian and many other with the tone and elegance of Buster Keaton.

Bas Jan last aborded work, In search of the miraculous PART I  exhibition at Claire Coppley Gallery,  from which the postcard above had been the invitation (photo taken from another travel on sea) included two sets of photographs, referring a walk in the streets of Los Angeles, between dusk and dawn, in the direction of the beach.

Two sets of black and white prints on which the artist then wrote the lyrics of a popular song entitled "Searchin" performed  by the band The Costers.

The image above had been taken from this first part, it allowed me to enter the work of Bas Jan Ader in a positive way, by titling my work,  "Yeah I'm still searchin'."

The booklet coming with my documentary essay is to be taken as an attempt to think about this third part he never did. A rambling at night that was scheduled in Amsterdam after his Atlantic cross, echoing the first rambling, in Los Angeles streets.

My booklet  contains some photographs I took last September, two nights long, visiting Amsterdam with my friend Hannah Geise/Moemlien, Amsterdam based musician and fine artist.

For the exhibition of PART I "In search of the Miraculous" at Claire Coppley Gallery Los Angeles, a choir of students were asked to sing some sailor songs, including "A life on the Ocean Waves" written and composed by Henry Russel (1838), which also is the official hymn of the british navy.

I choised, for one sequence of my work to make a new cover of that track, with several voices of mine, like a choir, and to edit the track with Yuri Gagarin first flight in space footage, on April the 12th 1961. Yuri G. who unlike Bas Jan, came back from his solitary travel (in spite of some technical problems), with a now a day famous statment :"I see no God up there"

This video is the long cut version of an extract of one sequence of « Yeah I’m still searchin" which is not actually online, but visible on demand at, for non commercial diffusion contexts such as seminars, free diffusions, school/research.

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