The Oude Kerk presents Poems for Earthlings, an extensive site-specific installation by the Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas (Rosario, 1980). This is the first solo exhibition by this world-famous artist in the Netherlands; the art installation was created after historical research and numerous visits to the Oude Kerk.
Adrián Villar Rojas is known for his immersive works of art: installations that invite visitors to explore new worlds. In creating these he uses a variety of art disciplines; the works bring the future, the past and alternative versions of the present together. Villar Rojas’s way of working is emphatically site-specific. At the start of each project, he submerges himself in the social, cultural, geographical and institutional characteristics of the site.
While traveling and researching he has developed an ever-deeper involvement with various places around the world. The installations he develops on site are temporary and transient; after the exhibition, nothing tangible is left. This way of working contrasts starkly with the unwritten rules that uphold the art market: in the case of Poems for Earthlings, there is nothing that can be sold to collectors or museums. His work shows his own transience – and thus risks oblivion. He shows that which is doomed to disappear and that which cannot – and perhaps should not – be preserved.
Poems for Earthlings is inspired by the way in which heritage is protected in times of war. It includes an eight-hour soundscape with sounds from the history of the world: from whales and dying languages to a computer starting up. The work centres on the difference between the treatment of material heritage (buildings, art treasures) and that of immaterial heritage (sounds, languages).
Adrián Villar Rojas
Villar Rojas studied at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentine. In 2011 he represented Argentine at the Venice Biennale and in 2012 his work was shown at the Documenta 13 in Kassel. Villar Rojas has had solo exhibitions at the Marian Goodman Gallery (New York), the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2017) and the Museum Haus Konstruktiv (Zurich).
Poems for Earthlings
Adrián Villar Rojas
21 November 2019 – 16 August 2020
This exhibition was made possible by the Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, the V Fonds and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.
Photographer: Jörg Baumann.