Auke de Vries, Stopover; Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague

Some 36 or 37 years ago Auke de Vries (1937) was my etching teacher at the Royal Academy in The Hague.

When teaching he would incidentally point to something on a working table, some haphazard constellation of an etching needle, a coffee cup, a pencil and a piece of paper and he’d say that it was an interesting composition.

Personally, at that age, i wasn’t really interested in that kind of aesthetics.

I had decided that making things of beauty, the things that were expected of you if you wanted to be an artist, were just not my cup of tea.

I had the stubborn idea that the world was not waiting for beauty and aesthetics.

Pick a bunch of flowers, if you wanted beauty, but don’t bother me with it!

Later on, i saw his monumental works in public space as he became more popular.

In it i saw the same kind of aesthetics again.

Quasi-haphazard constellations, just for their beauty, i ruled for myself.

In fact, i especially knew what i didn’t like.

Even later i plunged into a life in which many aspects were not beautiful at all.

Indeed i met many beautiful people, but the things they’d tell me and the world they’d found themselves in wasn’t beautiful at all.

When travelling for my work in the country i sometimes ran into a work by De Vries, or i just saw an object in the countryside that reminded me of his work.

It became clear to me that it must be great to make these things and to design and build them.

It was a kind of recomposing the world around you.

Auke de Vries’ present show at BaZ is a wonderful one.

Imagine, it is rebalancing the things, the thoughts, architecture, living creatures, art, well, the whole world, to be short.

I found it particularly moving.

I just hope that is not a personal thing.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Auke de Vries, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag and all owners.


Bertus Pieters