Witte de With Contemporary Art
Bouke de Vries
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Bouke de Vries

Bouke de Vries (1960, Utrecht, the Netherlands) lives and works in London, UK. He is a designer, conservator, and artist. Particularly in his practice as a conservator, he was faced with issues and contradictions around perfection and worth: ‘The Venus de Milo’ is venerated despite losing her arms, but when a Meissen muse loses a finger she is rendered virtually worthless.’ These contradictions became a vehicle for his practice as an artist. Using his skills as a restorer (c.f. Ron Mueck’s model-maker skills), his ‘exploded’ artworks reclaim broken pots after their accidental trauma. He has called it ‘the beauty of destruction.’ Instead of reconstructing them, he deconstructs them. Instead of hiding the evidence of this most dramatic episode in the life of a ceramic object, he emphasizes their new status, instilling new virtues, new values, and moving their stories forward.

De Vries studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven and Central St Martin’s, London. Subsequently, he studied ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. Recent solo exhibitions include; War and Pieces, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Alabama, 2019); War and Pieces, Wardsworth Athaneum (Connecticut, 2018); and Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, Ron Mandos Gallery (Amsterdam, 2018), among others. Recent group exhibitions include: Beyond the Vessel, Mesher Gallery ( Istanbul ,2019); Glitch, Kunsti Museum (Vaasa, 2018); The Precious Clay, Museum of Royal Worcester (Worcester, 2018/2019); Taiwan Ceramics Biennale (Yingge, 2018-2019); and Vasa Vasorum, Peters Projects (Santa Fe, 2018), among others. His work is held in the collections of Aberdeen Art Gallery (Aberdeen); The Ariana (Geneva); The Caldic Collection (Wassenaar); The National Museum of Norway (Oslo); National Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh), Philadelphia Museum (Philadelphia); National Dutch Ceramic Museum (Leeuwarden); and York City Art Gallery (York), among others.