Born 1977, Papendrecht, The Netherlands; lives and works in Berlin and in Hassi, Finland
Nummer veertien, home, 2012
video, 4k, color, sound, 54 minutes, diverse locations and countries, courtesy of the artist
The materials comprising Nummer veertien, home are the incredible materials that beget myths or movies: eccentric heroes, unusual life stories, infinite romanticism. Van der Werve takes upon himself to swim, cycle, run, compose a Requiem, play the piano, jump into a canal wearing burning clothes, be tied to a crane, float in the air and make a film out of all these. The film is dedicated to his two childhood heroes: composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin and warrior king Alexander the Great. Both left home at a young age, never to return.
The film begins at the Holy Cross Church, Warsaw, where Chopin’s heart is buried, and ends in Paris, by the grave where his body is interred. Between these two cities, 1,703.85 kilometers apart, an epic journey takes place, which Van der Werve traverses according to triathlon rules by swimming, cycling and running. The film’s length, the world-wide production, the allusions to Chopin, to Alexander and to the artist’s own biography, all imbue Nummer veertien, home with a sense of a Homeric epos as well as a Hollywood road movie.
Van der Werve’s films are always the result of some extreme, unnecessary, almost-impossible exertion. As such, they are reminiscent of Werner Herzog’s 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, a film synonymous with a megalomaniac, capricious and wonderful cinematic production. Another source of inspiration is Bas Jan Ader, a Dutch artist whose short life (1942–1975) and mysterious death engendered many rumors, tributes and myths in the world of art. Like him, Van der Werve’s tests his boundaries and endurance absurdly, to the extreme, surrendering to emotion in its most simple, deep and overflowing sense.