Bastiaan Johan Christiaan "Bas Jan" Ader (born 19 April 1942 – disappeared 1975) was a Dutch conceptual artist, performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. He had lived in Los Angeles, California for the last twelve years of his life. His work was in many instances presented as photographs and film of his performances. He made performative installations, including Please Don't Leave Me (1969).Ader was lost at sea in 1975, attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the US to England sailing in the smallest boat with which the voyage has ever been attempted. His deserted vessel was found off the coast of Ireland on 18 April 1976, offering few clues as to his fate.
Johanna Adriana Ader-Appels, Ader's mother, wrote the poem "From the Deep Waters of Sleep" on October 12, 1975, after having what she described as a premonition of his death:
From the Deep Waters of sleep I wake up to consciousness.
In the distance I hear a train rumbling in the early morning.
It is going East and passes the border. Then it will stop.
I feel my heart beating too. It will go on beating for some time.
Then it will stop.
I wonder if the little heart that has beaten with mine, has stopped.
When he passed the border of birth, I laid him at my breast,
Rocked him in my arms.
He was very small then.
A white body of a man, rocked in the arms of the waves,
Is very small too.
What are we in the infinity of oceans and sky?
A small baby at the breast of eternity.
Have you heard of happiness
Springing from a deep well of sorrow?
Of love, springing from pain and despondency, agony and death?
Such is mine.
|Bas Jan Ader, Please don’t leave me, 1969. Courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.|
|Bas Jan Ader, I’m too sad to tell you, 1970|
|Bas Jan Ader, Fall II, Amsterdam, 1970.|