Installation shot Dear Dr. A. at In Pending Waters Exhibit, Helena, Den Hague.
Dear Dr. A
I am looking for you.
This is what I know about you so far:
- Name: A
- Age: 81
- Height: 1,85
- Hair: Grey
- Eyes: Brown
- Shoe size: 44
- Complexion: Tanned from travel
You are a scientist, writer poet explorer. I try to picture what you might look like and put an add in a newspaper asking for information about you.
I got an email from Ton, who is in possession of some of the art affects you brought back from your trips to the Amazon.
He bought them on Marktplaats from your son in Law John and was so kind as to sent me some pictures.
Where did you find these artefacts?
This is a what you said about this yourself:
During my first expedition to the Amazon I stubled upon a ruin.
It was overgrown by the jungle. There I found some artifacts. Like: ceramics, jars, vases, gold jewelry and things like that. I continued the investigation we started last year. We did some more digging in what was left of the ruin. We succeeded in bringing multiple objects to light. I suspect most of them are around 4000 years old. But some of them might be even older.
You know I heard that before: you are not a trained archeologist. But I don’t see why i could not spend my time on archeological sites. Look, because of my education and two promotioins in one day I know what a scientist is. And I read a lot about archeology and noticed that it is amateurs who did the greatest findings. And I assure your I work really carefully. I am more likely to use a toothbrush than a spade. No, no, no, no, no, I don’t want to tell you where the settlement is located.
That I will keep to myself. I can tell you that it is more than ten days by boat over the Amazon river.
So where is this settlement located?
What I could collect from your books is that you flew form Amsterdam to Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. From here you took another plain to Letitia, a City on the boarder of Colombia. To then drive to the Amazon river and depart by boat.
I made scans of some of the pictures that where in your books about your trip there. Although some suggest you where never there.
Did you ever leave your office?
I try to picture you behind your desk writing.
A desk surrounded by books and artefacts.
Is this where you’re story is born?
I hope to learn more.
1. Screenshots from desktop documentary.
See documentary: https://vimeo.com/679308680
While the female is breeding the man has taken its observation post.
Dear Andreas Nimmerdor,
After watching a documentary about a well-known photographer, I decided to send you one more letter. The documentary follows a photographer and his wife, travelling through the United States and taking pictures for his book. The trip simultaneously functions as their honeymoon. And she functions as his researcher, his assistant, his wife. She expertly lights every picture.
Though I am an admirer of his work, before watching the documentary I never knew of her existence. After watching it I went looking for her, carefully examining his book. However, she was only mentioned in the margins. One name, out of many.
Who does not know the saying: “behind every successful man there is a strong woman”. A notion that feels antiquated to me, but proves to be anything but that.
You know where this is going. Your fame is rising and your podcast, that I secretly think of as our podcast, is hitting the charts in the Apple podcast app. Anyone listening to: Dear Dr. A. can hear how you philosophise about me possibly being a mediocre artist. Something I fear you might be right about.
Why complain? After all, I did give you my archive, my investigation into Dr. A. out of free will. Even asking you to finish the project.
What I could not have foreseen and what I was not prepared for, is that I went from maker and researcher to subject.
In other ways you also helped me.
I was left with two missing pieces in the case of Dr. A. Preoccupied by them, not able to move beyond looking for these concrete facts.
First thing I wanted to trace down was the collection of artefacts Dr. A.’s son in law Jack sold at Christie’s. I spent night after night in Christie's online database trying to find them. Your perspective on Dr. A. as an artist, more so than a fraudulent archeologist made me change my search terms. Knowing the approximate date of the sale it only took me about an hour to locate them.
Secondly, I wanted to locate every artefact he depicted in his books Amazonas and Night of the Vulture. Unfortunately still no updates on that. The count remains at 11 out of 24 artefacts located.
But after listening to the last and final episode from ‘your’ podcast none of this is important anymore. You found ground on which to argue that Dr. A. is the pseudonym of his wife Loes. Something I did suspect.
No, that is not true. I longed for a role for Loes in the work of Dr. A. What I want to thank you for is that you gave her that platform.
I did something I didn't dare do before. I sent a message through Facebook to Geraldien Willemien, who is Loes and Dr. A.’s daughter. I did not get an answer.
Or maybe I did.
Because a few days after that I found a thick envelope in my mailbox. It contained a small archive held together by a red elastic band. I recognised the style. These must be the works Loes could never show. The works that would blow her cover and reveal her artistry behind Dr. A.
This project has been given to me to finish. I will give Loes the attention she deserves. With that I consider us even.
Eva van Ooijen
An extraordinary phenomena of supernatural origin.
Go on a cyberpilgrimage to the Lady of All Nations at: www.lourdesaandeamstel.net
Pilgrims are flooding Amsterdam without attracting much attention. People from all over the world visit the Chapel of The Lady of all Nations. The Chapel is hidden in the extension of an expensive villa, given to the cause by Gertrude Brenninkmeijer, member of the wealthiest family in the Netherlands and a true believer.
The Lady of all Nations, or as most people know her: Mary, came to Ida Peerdeman (1905-1996) in an apparition for the first time when she was 12 years old.
During her life Ida Peerdeman was visited by Mary 56 times. Although not commonly known in the Netherlands, you could compare the magnitude of this apparition with that of Lourdes. Journalists and devotees even refer to Amsterdam as “Lourdes by the Amstel”.
When it comes to Spirituality, nobody can say what is real and what’s not, but in this work Eva van Ooijen tries to believe.