Misha de Ridder

October 24 - December 12, 2020

Albada Jelgersma Gallery is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Misha de Ridderresilience. This will be his first solo with the gallery. The opening will be Saturday October 24 from 1-6 pm, the artist will be present from 3-6 pm.

“What was life? […] Nobody knew. Nobody knew the natural point at which it sprang up and ignited. […] It was the being of what could not really be, of what could barely balance on the point of being only with painful and sweet effort in a particular and feverish process of decay and renewal. It was not matter and it was not spirit. It was something in between, a phenomenon carried by matter, like the rainbow above the waterfall and like the flame.”
from The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg), Thomas Mann

resilience shows works De Ridder made during a summer in the Swiss Lower Engadin inspired by Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel The Magic Mountain. In those months he immersed himself in the Alpine landscape, applying his systematic, almost scientific approach and keen eye for color to his surroundings. The resulting photographs and films are anything but scientific. They are ethereal, arresting, and spiritual works, at times bordering on abstraction that sustain engagement through their sublime beauty. On view will be carefully selected photographs exploring the existential implications of time.

The transformation of matter in time is a central theme. This transformation takes place on multiple levels: in the image, in time and in the subject. The title of the exhibition stems from the Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra or arve). Resilient as no other, these pines are adapted to the harshest climatic conditions. Trees more than 700 years old grow at an altitude of 2500 meters.

In each of the works, de Ridder’s ongoing search for color immediately catches the eye. In arven I, 2020 De Ridder captures the colors of the trees as an almost abstract spectrum. In blau, 2020, the high mountains in the Engadin bask in a blue glow, the result of breaking sunlight in the distance. His search culminated in a local church from 1428, in a village called Lavin. There he found centuries old frescoes, reduced to seemingly random areas of color. In a 2.25 by 1.50 meter work, the pigments, taken from the environment, suddenly form their own landscape. Stray areas of color become an image again.

At a moment when technology is increasingly mediating the relationship people have with their surroundings, de Ridder’s work pushes us to go out and explore what we are missing. It is not often that photographs of such visceral beauty can elicit a deep, meaningful engagement with how we perceive and understand the world around us.

Misha de Ridder’s work has been widely exhibited amongst others at Coda Museum, Apeldoorn NL; Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, NL; FoMu Photo Museum Antwerp, BE; Rosegallery, Santa Monica, US; Triennial of Photography Hamburg, DE; Museum of the City of New York, US; and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, NL. De Ridder has published seven monographs, notable are Abendsonne (2011) and Falaise (2016); his most recent book high up close by was published by Roma Publications in the summer of 2019.

The exhibition and production of the works is generously supported by the Paul Deiters Stipendium of Stichting Stokroos and Het Mondriaan Fonds.