Anne de Vries
For ‘The Nightwatch’, De Vries has carved doorways into the round lenses of a giant pair of spectacles. CCTV feeds from cameras directed at these doorways are shown on a monitor installed on top of a makeshift stand; a wine box labelled ‘Tilsim’ (or ‘talisman’). Within this structure the artist has placed a massage table, mannequin legs, succulents and newspapers, some covered in a layer of mud, others adorned with crisp white towels, fake fried eggs and fresh cherries.
Sharing its title with Rembrandt’s heavily iconographic Baroque masterpiece, De Vries’ installation displays a similarly dense composition and focussed viewpoint, however its elements are not symbolic as such. Instead they compose both a mimetic architecture – a cosy interior in the space left by an absent figure – and a surveillance system operating on multiple scales. Within this assembly of objects the problems of privacy and access brought about by our ever-more-comprehensive mapping of the digital body are amplified and worked out in real space. The installation describes a situation like that predicted by computer scientist Ray Kurzweil – “What now fits in your pocket, 25 years from now will fit into a blood cell.” It positions technology as not only a record of the human body but also the actual material of its environment, its intermediary, and (eventually) its replacement.
‘The Nightwatch’ speaks to the site of its installation, the Sişhane Otopark, whose valet service includes photographs of front, rear, and sides of your car. Its modelling of a lens under constant surveillance also recalls recent debates around legislation around internet privacy and controls nationally and internationally. Grouped with fixings of spa, the organic fascinations and mental detoxing of health and well-being are portrayed as mere counterpoints to ubiquitous self-monitoring and mining of the body as technology.
Anne de Vries (b. 1977, The Hague) is an artist living and working in Amsterdam and Berlin. He completed a two year residency at The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam and received his BA in Fine Arts from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam with an exchange at Cooper Union, New York. Selected solo exhibitions include Onomatopee, Eindhoven, 2015; Cell Project Space, London, 2015; Foam Museum, Amsterdam, 2015; Parc Saint Léger, Pougues-les-Eaux, 2015; Martin van Zomeren, Amsterdam, 2014; Sandy Brown, Berlin, 2012; The Composing Rooms, London, 2012. Recent group shows include 9th Berlin Biennale, 2016; Valentin, Paris, 2016; Andrea Rosen Gallery, 2016; Cell Projects, London, 2015; Onomatopee, Eindhoven, 2015; Foam Museum, Amsterdam, 2015; Future Gallery, Berlin, 2016; De Hallen, Amsterdam, 2014; Fluxia Milano, 2014; Three Shadows Museum, Beijing, 2014; Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam, 2014; Salts Basel, 2014; La Biennale de Lyon Résonance, 2014; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012. De Vries received the Artist Pension Fund in 2013 and the Dutch Design Award in 2010. He has made presentations at art fairs including FIAC, Paris 2015; Art Rotterdam, 2014; Art Brussels, 2013; Artissima, Turin, 2012, and has spoken on panels at FOAM Museum, Amsterdam, 2014 and Transmediale, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, 2014.