Joke Brasser | Bas Jan Ader’s Art in Relation to the Romantic and Postmodern Sublime: Gravity – Passibility – Sublimity


This article discusses several works from the Dutch/Californian conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975). It relates these works of Ader to different cultural concepts of the sublime; the romantic and the postmodern sublime. The interpretation moves away from simply identifying Ader as a romantic artist and his oeuvre as concerned with the romantic sublime, which critics have often done. Instead, it focuses on the way in which Ader thematizes the romantic sublime as a 20th century sonceptual artist. It also relates Ader’s fall works to Lyotard’s concept of the
postmodern sublime of liminality, and discusses Ader’s last work “In Search of the Miraculous” as a postmodern sublime work which, like the fall works, is an execution of an act of self-surrender to a larger force.

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