Dutch artist Guido van der Werve's mesmerizing video, Nummer veertien (number fourteen), home, connects the Polish city of Warsaw and the French capital of Paris by way of a triathlon.
Centered on ideas of home, wanderlust and exploration, this fim weaves together several narratives. Growing up in the small town of Papendrecht, the Netherlands, the artist’s childhood hero was the explorer Alexander the Great. In the span of his short life, Alexander conquered most of Asia Minor and ventured as far as India. Alexander died of a fever in the ancient city of Babylon in 323 BCE, never to return home.
In a similar example of expatriatism, the composer Frédéric Chopin left his native Poland to live and work in Paris. Chopin’s official grave is at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris but the composer’s sister returned his heart to Poland where it was put to rest at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.
Van der Werve’s video shows the artist swimming, biking and running from Warsaw to Paris. His feat of endurance is punctuated at times by the appearance of an orchestra, transforming the ordinary into the surreal. Trained as a classical concert pianist, Van der Werve composed the score in the style of a romantic twelve-movement requiem.Image: Nummer veertien, home, Guido van der Werve, 2012, 4K video, © Guido van der Werve; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.