BOUKE DE VRIES ON SHOW AT FONDATION D’ENTERPRISE BERNARDAUD
Fondation d’Entreprise Bernardaud presents My Blue China. Blue and White, the Colors of Globalization:
Set up in 2003 with an aim of broadening the use of porcelain beyond tableware, Fondation d’Entreprise Bernardaud has been actively supporting artists and other creatives in their exploration of the material as an artistic medium. Through regular artist residencies, as well as annual exhibitions, the Fondation gives a platform to artists using ceramics, especially those who are under-represented in France, explains Michel Bernardaud, CEO of the family-owned porcelain maker that set it up.
My Blue China sheds new light on the issues at hand, bringing together the works of 12 internationally renowned contemporary artists who explicitly reference blue and white porcelain. The exhibition shows the extent to which this universal leitmotif – whether applied to ceramics, painting, photography or video-making – refreshes our reflections on aesthetics, identity, hybrid art and cultural imperialism. My Blue China curator Laurent de Verneuil, explains how the artists turn the concept of cultural democratisation on its head in the Fondation d’Entreprise Bernardaud‘s latest exhibition, which will run from 11th June until 21st November 2015 in Limoges, France.
Read more on: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1154585/fondation-dentreprise-bernardaud-presents-my-blue-china#
And take a look at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rooksanahossenally/2015/05/31/globalisation-in-blue-and-white-fondation-bernardauds-my-blue-china-exhibition-in-limoges-france/
ABOUT Bouke de Vries
Born 1960 in Utrecht, NL
Lives and works in London, UK
Bouke de Vries studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven, and Central St Martin’s, London. After working with John Galliano, Stephen Jones and Zandra Rhodes, he switched careers and studied ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. Every day in his practice as a private 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.’
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 emphasises their new status, instilling new virtues, new values, and moving their stories forward.
The more contemplative works echo the 17th- and 18th-century still-life paintings of his Dutch heritage, especially the flower paintings of the Golden Age, a tradition in which his hometown of Utrecht was steeped (de Heem, van Alst, van Huysum inter alia), with their implied decay. By incorporating contemporary items a new vocabulary of symbolism evolves.
These ‘dead natures’ – natures morts – give everyday household objects, a plate, a milk jug, a teapot, a modern poignancy that refers back to the vanitas and memento mori paintings of that period. An installation in de Vries’s London house is arranged in the manner of Daniel Marot with white Delft domestic pottery rescued in fragments from 17th- and 18th-century rubbish tips, now dug up and partially pieced together. Among them are two small artists’ paint pots with the pigment still in them, as possibly once used by – who knows? – Vermeer or Rembrandt.