Bouke de Vries











Born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Bouke de Vries studied at the Design Academy  Eindhoven, and Central St Martin’s, London. After working with John Galliano, Stephen Jones and Zandra Rhodes, he switched careers and studied ceramics conservation and restoration at West Dean College. Every day in his practice as a private 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.’

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 emphasises their new status, instilling new virtues, new values, and moving their stories forward.

The more contemplative works echo the 17th- and 18th-century still-life paintings of his Dutch heritage, especially the flower paintings of the Golden Age, a tradition in which his hometown of Utretch was steeped (de Heem, van Alst, van Huysum inter alia), with their implied decay. By incorporating contemporary items a new vocabulary of symbolism evolves.

These ‘dead natures’ – natures morts – give everyday household objects, a plate, a milk jug, a teapot, a modern poignancy that refers back to the vanitas and momento mori paintings of that period. An installation in de Vries’s London house is arranged in the manner of Daniel Marot with white Delft domestic pottery rescued in fragments from 17th- and 18th-century rubbish tips, now dug up and partially pieced together. Among them are two small artists’ paint pots with the pigment still in them, as possibly once used by – who knows? – Vermeer or Rembrandt.


Born 1960 in Utrecht,NL
Lives and works in London, UK


1978-1981      Design Academy, Eindhoven, NL
1981-1982      Central School of Art, London, UK 


War and Pieces, Hillwood House, Washington D.C., USA
War and Pieces, The Frick Pittsburgh, USA

War and Pieces, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, USA
Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sometimes I Look East and Sometimes I Look West, Officina Saffi, Milan, Italy
Un-Damaged, Musea Dal Ceramica Mondovi, Mondovi, Italy

Fractured Images, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London UK
War and Pieces, The Harley Gallery, Worksop, UK
War and Pieces, Belton Hall, Nottingham, UK

War and Pieces, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Den Haag, The Netherlands
War and Pieces, Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf, Germany
War and Pieces, Berrington Hall, Berrington, UK
Croome Park redefined, Installation piece for National Trust, Croome, Worcester, UK
The Golden Box, Croome Court, UK
Studying Human Activity Through the Recovery of Material Lecture, Galerie Ron Mandos, The Netherlands

CHengju International Craft Biennale, Cheongju, SK


Fragments, Chateau de Nyon, Nyon, FR
Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Taipei
Threads of my life, Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan, IT

Art SOUTH, Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, UK
War and Pieces, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, UK
War and Pieces, Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin, DE
Bouke de Vries: Bow Selector, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK

War and Pieces, Holbourne Museum, Bath, UK



Beyond the vessel, Mesher Gallery Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
A Tea journey, Compton Verney, UK
Derived from The Decorative, Cheekwood Estate Nashville, Tennesee, USA
The Precious Clay, Museum of Royal Worcester, Worcester, UK
Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Yingge, Taiwan 
Glitch, Kuntsi Museum, Vaasa, Finland

Vasa Vasorum, Peters Projects, Santa Fe, USA
Material Earth Ii, Myths, Materials And Metamorphoses, Messums Wiltshire, Tisbury, UK
Revive, Remix, Respond, Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA

MATERIAL: EARTH, Messums, Wiltshire, UK

Vernieuwd Verleden, Coda Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Asia-Amsterdam, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, USA
Re-Animate, Repair, Mend and Melt, Ferrin Contemporaray, North Adams, MA, USA
Blue and White, Ariana Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
Skelet, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag, The Netherlands
Portraits, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, UK
Hollandaise, New Art Projects, London, UK

Shared, Somerset House, London, UK
My Blue China, Fondation D'Enterprise Bernardaud, Limoges, FR
Sweet 18, Kasteel van Hingene, Hingene, BE
Asia-Amsterdam, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (MA), USA

Re-Used, Gallerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL

Anders, Historisch Museum, Haarlem, NL
Portretten op Buitenplaats Beeckestijn, Buitenplaats Beeckesijn, Velsen, NL
Beastly Hall, Hall House, Bexley, UK

Vanitas/Contemporary Reflections, Moscow MOMA, Moscow, RU
Mono No Aware, Bo Lee Gallery, Bath, UK
Bad For You, Shizaru Gallery, Londong, UK
This Is London, Shizaru Gallery, London, UK
4 the Korenbeurs Schiedam, Korenbeurs Schiedam
Earthly Delights, Laleh June Gallery, Basel,CH
Waste, Tanya Rumpf Gallery, Haarlem, NL
Lots Wife, Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury, UK
York City Art Gallery, York City Art Gallery, York, UK
Between Dimension, The Prepresentation Of The Object, MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK

CRAFT Raiders of the lost arts, Pertwee, Anderson and Gold, London, UK
The Return, The House of a Nobleman at Cornwall Terrace, London, UK

Questions of belonging, MIMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK
Contemporary eye, Crossovers Pallant house Gallery, Chichester, UK
PAN, Amsterdam, NL
Artissima, Turijn, IT
Vanitas, All Visual Arts, London, UK
The borrowed loop, Man&Eve, London, UK
Ultra Kyoto, Kyoto, JP
A grand tour of my mind, Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan, IT
Miart, Milan, IT
MurmurART, London, UK
Things I made, things I found and made, Salon, London, UK
ART Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL
Deconstructions, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL

Emerging artists, Flora Fairbairn Projects, London, UK


Aberdeen Art Gallery
The Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland
Castle Hingene, Belgium
Collection Edgar J. and Clarissa Bronfman, New York, USA
Collection Hugo Brown, The Netherlands
Collection Drake, The Netherlands
Collection Elton John, London/Los Angeles
Collection Taiq Al Jaidah
Collection Kay Saatchi, Los Angeles
Collection Frances Reynolds, London
Collection Mizuho Bank, London
Drake collection, The Netherlands
Eneco, corporate collection, Netherlands
LAM, The Netherlands
Le Chateau de Nyon, Nyon, Switzerland
MIMA, Middlesbrough
MONA, Tasmania
MUDAC, Lausanne,Switzerland
Ministry of foreign affairs Netherlands
Museum Voorlinden, Netherlands
National Dutch ceramic museum Princessenhof, Leeuwarden Netherlands
National Museum of Norway, Norwy
National Museums of Scotland
Pallant House Gallery, UK
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
Philadelphia Museum, USA
National Dutch ceramic museum Princessenhof, Leeuwarden Netherlands
York City  Art Gallery
Zabludowicz Collection, London