the first book by herman de vries appeared in 1960. 'book' may be a big word for this small format booklet of a few sheets, bound with two staples and, surprisingly, without print. no title on the cover, it is blank too. on the colophon page only a few words are printed, in very pale ink and in four languages, like a poem: 'wit / wit is overdaad / blanc est surabondance / white is superabundance / weiss ist übermässig / wit / wit / wit is overdaad'. one might say that this book is at the same time an end and a beginning. it constitutes the end of the work of a scientist soon to renounce the study of nature and who has just announced this by renaming the offprints of a personal scientific publication 'manifest of castrated reality'.
it also marks the final point of his parallel work as a painter, related to the abstract movement 'zero'. from 1956 herman de vries has been making monochrome paintings and from 1959, white paintings.
Source: Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, 'beyond language', in herman de vries. les livres & les publications (Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche 2005) 29]