b. 1960, The Netherlands; lives and works in London
1989-1992 West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, West Sussex 1981-1982 Central School of Art and Design, London 1978-1981 Design Academy, Eindhoven
After working with designers John Galliano, Stephen Jones, and Zandra Rhodes, Bouke de Vries switched careers and studied ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. As a private conservator, he confronted issues and contradictions pertaining to notions of perfection and worth, which he now uses as the starting point for his own works as an artist. Exploiting his skills as a restorer, his artworks reclaim broken pots after their accidental trauma. But instead of reconstructing them, he deconstructs them, emphasising their new status, instilling new virtues and values, and progressing their stories.
The surreal element in de Vries’ work seems highly appropriate for the 2020 edition of Cure3 in this most surreal of years. By salvaging and re-imagining the headless ceramic figure, de Vries celebrates the beauty of imperfection, an idea that underlines his practice. Behind Darth Vader’s menacing appearance, there is a vulnerable, scarred figure concealed by his armour and mask. The powerful combination of the female figure’s apparent disfigurement and the concealed frailty of the male anti-hero is a pertinent contribution within the exhibition’s context.