Artist Transforms Shattered Ceramics Into Ornate Sculptures To Highlight “Beauty of Destruction”

Bouke de Vries Guan Yin With a Nimbus of Saucers Porcelain Fragmented Sculpture

Ceramics comprise an art form thousands of years old, with evidence of a ceramic art tradition apparent in most developed cultures. While quite durable when preserved and cared for properly, ceramic objects often suffer catastrophic damages as one misstep can leave a once-pristine sculpture or vase reduced to many shattered pieces. Dutch artist Bouke de Vries uses broken ceramics as the primary medium for his artwork, celebrating the “beauty of destruction” through his fragmented sculptures.

De Vries began his career in the fashion industry and later changed direction, studying ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. With over a decade of experience as a ceramics restorer, he began to create his own artworks from reclaimed ceramics beyond repair. His experience in the fashion industry, knowledge of ceramics restoration, and the rich artistic tradition of his home country all heavily influence his work.

His deconstructed sculptures take on a variety of forms, but many of them are pieced together using the kintsugi technique. This Japanese method uses a special lacquer that is dusted or mixed with gold powder to mend the objects. “The philosophy behind kintsugi aligns very well with one of the starting points of my practice,” de Vries remarks. “I believe that something damaged can still be beautiful. With kintsugi the damage is considered part of a piece’s history: rather than hiding it, it is celebrated as an integral part of that. I try to express that in my own way.”

You can find more of the artist’s work via art gallery Adrian Sassoon and by visiting his website.

Dutch artist Bouke de Vries creates magnificent sculptures from fragmented ceramics.

Bouke de Vries Reconfiguring Fragmented Ceramics Into Sculpture

Bouke de Vries Guan Yin With a Nimbus of Saucers Porcelain Fragmented Sculpture

Bouke de Vries Guan Yin in a Cloud of Shards Ceramic Fragmented Sculpture

Through his deconstructed sculptures, he seeks to emphasize the beauty that lies in imperfection.

Bouke de Vries Homeland Britain II Fragmented Earthenware Sculpture

Bouke de Vries Memory Vessel LXVII Fragmented Qing Dynasty Porcelain Sculpture

Bouke de Vries Tobacco Jar Garniture Glass and Fragmented Ceramic Sculpture

Watch this video to hear more about the philosophy and process behind his work.

Bouke de Vries: Website | Instagram | Adrian Sassoon

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Bouke de Vries.

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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