Artist have worked with the idea of exploration and expedition for generations.
It’s something I play in my own practice. A couple of years ago for example, I took on the mantle of becoming an “Artist Explorer”. I made a work that was in part inspired by Shackleton’s crew dragging the James Caird across the ice to reach open water. My work was a much smaller scale affair; in full sailing gear I dragged a 10ft wooden sailing boat across a city. When it’s the frozen waists thousands miles away, but Plymouth city centre it becomes more absurd than romantic!
The James Caird.
No artist has played with this idea exploration as a search for something unknown, more effectively and beautifully than Bas Jan Ader, who, on the 9th of July 1975, set sail from Cape Cod in a boat just over 12ft in length in an attempt to sail single handed across the Atlantic. After three weeks, radio contact with Ader was lost, he was never seen again.Some believe he was simply lost at sea, others that he faked his death. Whatever the truth the myth of Ader’s final work started continues to this day.
“in Search of the Miraculous’ by Bas Jan Ader.
Read more about Bas Jan Ader here