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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.

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