Upcoming: Virtual Talk about Art Rotterdam

RM Sunday Session
Virtual Talk about Art Rotterdam with…
Fons Hof (Director Art Rotterdam), Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (Director Kunstinstituut Melly), and Bouke de Vries (artist)
Date: Sunday February 14th, 2021
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 PM (CET)

To register for the zoom webinar, please click here.

We are delighted to invite your for a special RM Sunday Session about our new exhibition Art Rotterdam part #1 at the gallery. During the virtual talk, Fons Hof (Director Art Rotterdam), Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (Director Kunstinstituut Melly), Bouke de Vries (artist) will talk about postponing Art Rotterdam and the effects of the pandemic on art fairs and institutions, as well as on artists. The zoom webinar will be in English. To register for the talk, click here.

For those unable to join the zoom webinar, we will share the conversation afterwards on our Instagram TV. Follow us on Instagram here.

Meet the speakers:

Fons Hof is director of Art Rotterdam. He founded the art fair together with Peter Schuiten and two fellow gallery owners in 2000. Since 2009, he has been the sole director and owner of Art Rotterdam.

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy started her directorship at what was formerly known as Witte de With in January 2018, a center for contemporary art in Rotterdam. Since January 2021, they changed their name to Kunstinstituut Melly to dissociate themselves from its namesake and the heavy history of colonial oppression.

Bouke de Vries is an artist taking part in the group exhibition Art Rotterdam part #1 at the gallery. He is best known for his tactile, poetic sculptures in ceramics. Taking fractured ceramics from different cultures and traditions, he transforms them into new and unimaginable assemblages.

ABOUT Bouke de Vries

Bouke de Vries (1960) was born in Utrecht, NL
He 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.