Ger van Elk believed that representations of reality in art cannot be trusted, and this theory was the driving force behind his sculptures, installations, films, and painted photographs. He divorced subject matter from representation, making art history and the language of art the subjects of his compositions and constructions. La Pièce (1971), a white wooden block placed atop a red velvet cushion, is a critique of the art world’s megalomania. The block is positioned as an embodiment of modernist purity. Van Elk often included autobiographical elements in his work, as in the case of The Adieu (1974). Framed as an optical illusion, the work features a photograph of the artist waving to his viewers from a country road modeled after 17th-century Dutch landscapes.