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April 19 2014

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An Amy Winehouse Explosion You’ll Actually Want To See

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If you’re in Milan over the next week, take a break from fashion (and Bistrot Giacomo) to explore the mind of Bouke de Vries. Literally. The first Italian exhibition of the artist’s work—practically the first exhibition of his work anywhere—is called A Grand Tour of My Mind. De Vries, Utrecht-born but London-based, is a ceramic conservator with a fashion background (he’s worked for John Galliano, Stephen Jones, and Zandra Rhodes) who tweaked his day job a little to compose extraordinary “exploded” artworks from pieces deemed un-repairable. There’s a philosophical point being made about our notions of perfection (de Vries asks, why is the Venus de Milo venerated despite being armless, while Meissen porcelain with an almost invisible crack is virtually worthless?), but what you’re more likely to respond to is the elegance, the sly wit, and the poignancy of de Vries’ frozen moments. One of his 2009 pieces, called No No No, featured a chic but shattered nineteenth-century porcelain figure that was a ringer for Amy Winehouse. He sold that one to London collector Anita Zabludowicz, considered a weather vane of things to come in the art world. Since then, other collectors have been beating a path to de Vries’ door. Here’s your opportunity to catch a rapidly rising star.
A Grand Tour of My Mind opens tomorrow and runs through April 14 at the GLORIAMARIAgallery, 32 Via Watt, Milan, www.gloriamariagallery.com. (The artist’s own Web site also has a fantastic gallery of his work.)

Photo: Bouke de Vries, Courtesy of GLORIAMARIAgallery

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