Kyoto: Bouke de Vries "PIECES"

Bouke de Vries, Pieces, 2010, detail
Glass, mirrors, variable dimensions, image courtesy of the gallery
Kyoto’s Super Window Project & Gallery is temporarily pausing its activities at their Motoyama Kamigama location to concentrate on various international endeavors (starting with the gallery presenting their artists at Artissima 17). In anticipation of this seasonal closing, the SWP has mounted their last exhibition entitled “Pieces” by Bouke de Vries.
The current installation is comprised of two tall thin glass towers filled with glass fragments at once fragile and dangerous. The resulting tension between power and vulnerability is not unlike what I saw in the last SWP exhibition of Soshi Matsunobe’s paper sculptures: ostensibly hard but, in reality, super delicate works. The metaphor of vulnerability is physically manifested in the glass of De Vries’ ephemeral towers due to the timing of the installation. The exhibition was inaugurated on the anniversary of the World Trade Centre disaster, making the semi-transparent glass shard-filled structures function symbolically as well as viscerally.

Bouke de Vries, Pieces, installation view, image courtesy of the gallery

Unlike the accumulation sculptures of the New Realists, De Vries’ piled up fragments of ceramics and discarded or found materials are not a commentary on the production-accumulation continuum within modern societies. His boxed “life fragments” seem to refer to the condition of fragility of human existence—what was once real becomes an emblematic representation removed from its original context, and forced into the vacuum of glass encasement. In De Vries, the materials that used to form the fabric of peoples’ lives now exist only as fragments, “pieces” which encapsulate the memories of things past.

The show will be on through October 24.