‘You have to be able to put into words the environment in which you are going to place a sculpture. For me, the environment is always part of the effect of the sculpture and therefore adds something essential to it.’
About Auke de Vries
Auke de Vries is a sculptor, draftsman, painter, and graphic artist. He was educated at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He would later teach there himself, just like years before at the academy in Amsterdam. Initially he worked as a painter and graphic artist. He has been making metal sculptures since the 1970s, which he often matches with the local architecture.
De Vries’ sculptures are light and abstract, constructed from geometric shapes that seem to float, such as lines, cones, cubes, surfaces, and cylinders. Train passengers are familiar with De Vries’ sculpture Hollands Spoor (1987) positioned against the facade of the then PTT Post hub. The elongated sculpture is a key work in his oeuvre. The repetitive movement of zigzag shapes, strips, pedestals, and cylinders contrasts strongly with the white facade. At half a meter wide, it takes up little space and appears etched.
Sculptures by De Vries can be found in Lelystad (Windorgel, 1973), Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. He is better known abroad. One of his most important works is the sculpture Gelandet (2001) on the roof of the Daimler-Benz headquarters in Berlin. This too is a synthesis of architecture, urban design, and sculpture.
In 2011 and 2017 works by Auke de Vries were shown at ART ZUID. Untitled was one from the series Living in Trees, it consists of a hanging city for birds. His sculpture, Bosgod, from 1995, was inspired by the contrast between unfinished and ramshackle buildings in slums and the architecture of Istanbul’s chic neighbourhoods.
Auke de Vries has won several prizes, including the Ouborg Prize (1997), the Wilhelminaring (2015) and the Gerrit Benner Prize for Visual Arts, both for his entire oeuvre (2019).