Interview with Bouke de Vries, text by Stefania Seoni, all photos courtesy of Gloria Maria Gallery

Dear Diane, Dear Shaded Viewers,

 “Threads of my life” is the title of the new work by Bouke De de Vries, which will be exhibited at ATELIER Les Copains in Milan and curated by Gloria Maria Cappelletti and Fabrizio Meris.

"Kintsugi" is a Japanese technique that means golden repair and is the art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with gold powder. The idea is to make peace with the object after it has been broken. Gold is used instead of glue and precious metal instead of transparent adhesive.  Precious metal instead of transparent adhesive. The idea is that the broken object will become more beautiful just by embracing its history.

SS: The question: is the reconstruction a way of enhancing the piece, concealing the lost integrity relevant in your art?

BDdV: I have always admired the Kintsugi technique and have experimented with it since I was a student. The impulse for my creations is to use the philosophy of repairing an object so that the damage is celebrated as part of the object’s history. It undermines the world’s relentless pursuit for perfection. It creates a new narrative showing us that beauty can be achieved if we allow ourselves to look differently at the objects.

BDdV: I have also used the Kintsugi technique for the work I have done with the artist Grayson Perry.

SS: In the digital scenario fractures are perceived as the effect of a fault, because we have always been trained to think things are either “whole” or “broken”. If it is broken, it must be someone’s fault. How do your works relate to this?

BDdV: Although I use damaged ceramics in my work, I don’t see it as that. To me, it’s more like an intermediate state in which other things start to happen. It is the space between the fragments that reveal how the object is altered and relevant

SS: Where did your idea for “Threads of my life” come from?

BDdV: My point of departure was the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne and the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and gave him a ball of thread so that he could find his way out of the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. This could be interpreted as representing Ariadne’s love or Theseus’s quest for the path of truth, human ingenuity, the ties that enable us to unite and overcome monsters or maybe to escape impossible situations… I have used it visibly in the figurative pieces for the show, but the thread is also symbolic of elements that run through my work like a ‘fil rouge’ – as exemplified by the ‘Repair’ works where I appropriate the Kintsugi technique and fit them into the narrative of my work as a restorer.

SS: Do you have a mentor who serves as an influence in your life? 

BDdV: I regard my partner as my mentor; if we had never met my life would have gone in a completely different direction. Also, history is my mentor: the lessons learned can be applied to our own times and can enable us to look to the future.

SS: Are there any childhood experiences that have influenced you? 

BDdV: in my childhood textiles – my grandma’s knitting and my mother’s dressmaking and home furnishing, always surrounded me. I still recall going through her boxes of fabric and buttons with almost-Proustian clarity. It must have had a direct influence on my studying textiles at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and this led to my choice of ceramic restoration. Textile design has often inspired ceramics and vice versa.









Bouke de Vries

Theads of My life

Curated by Gloria Maria Cappelletti and Fabrizio Meris

opening exhibition 5 febrary at 7

ATELIER Les Copains, Via Manzoni 21 Milano