earth museum

catalogue number: hdv 1976.110.1
date created: 1976-2015 (2019)
classification: installations
work type: installation
medium: herman de vries started to collect samples of earth around 1976. Although it has no scientific purpose it constitutes a compendium in which every type of earth (limestone, sandstone, peat, volcanic, marl, ash, etc. etc.) is represented and which visibly demonstrates the endless variety, beauty and subtlety of the colours of earth. Each sample is dried into a powder-like consisteny, bagged, boxed and labelled with its date and its place of origin. Later he started to represent the samples with a small rubbing in the 'earth catalogue' made by hand on paper, identified by source, and carefully kept in Solander boxes. Thus the first and last of things - 'a handful of dust' - is given its due, and each sample is held in common with every other, none preferred to any other. [source: Mel Gooding, chance & change (2006) 96-97]
After the collection was transferred to the Musée Gassendi in Digne-les-Bains, the collection of samples has continued. It currently comprises more than 8,000 samples
dimensions: variable
signature and inscriptions: uninscribed
current repository: collection Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
current repository number: 2005.5.1
collecting history: acquiredby the museum/city of Digne-les-Bains in 2005-2007
related works: 'the earth museum catalogue 1978-2015 I-II' (2016)
photo/scan: courtesy Peter Foolen Editions, Eindhoven
rights & reproduction: herman de vries
exhibition history
1996 herman de vries. to be', Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum, Hagen
2007 onwards permanent exhibition in the Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
published references
text herman de vries, 'le musée des terres', in herman de vries (Fage Éditions : Lyon / Musée Gassendi : Digne-les-Bains 2009) image repr. on page 45, 44-47.
publication Cairn, laboratoire artistique en montagne / Natacha Pugnet, Roel Arkesteijn, a.o. (Cairn Centre d'art/Éditions Fage : Lyon 2021) images repr. on pages 63-67.