Just as tress will sometimes burst through the sidewalk in a cramped city, resilient flora erupt from porcelain vessels in Patrick Bergsma‘s work. The Netherlands-based artist uses a mix of dead bonsai trees and found pottery to create dynamic sculptures which explore the history of porcelain and the power of nature.
The series, titled Expanding China, was sparked by Bergsma's interest in antiques. “My sculptures started as an attempt to make 3D versions of the floating little islands I saw in antique German porcelain plates,” Bergsma explains to My Modern Met. “Those plates where originally inspired by Asian decorations and to me they had an almost surreal feel to them. I made a series of giant plates that combined these decorations of floating islands with contemporary dreamlike imagery.” As he continued working, the project developed, and Bergsma incorporated bonsai. This has extra significance when paired with porcelain as both originated from China.
As such, Bergsma began sourcing dead or sick bonsai for his sculptures. “The sick bonsai that I managed to save form the base of my always growing collection of bonsai in my studio garden,” he continues. These plants are then merged with painted vessels in endless ways. Some trees appear to shatter the porcelain items completely, while others let their branches escape through the openings. “The decoration and the shiny surface of the porcelain formed the perfect contrast for the natural elements in my work,” Bergsma says. In addition, this unlikely pairing evokes ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging, in the way the bonsai is artfully juxtaposed with the porecelain shards.
Scroll down to see more incredible sculptures, and be sure to follow Bergsma on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest projects.