Claire Verkoyen (Willemstad, Curaçao, 1959) is interested in a most basic of available materials for creating objects: clay. She studied plastic arts at the Université de Paris and sculptural ceramics at St. Joost Academy in Breda and has been in charge of the ceramics studio at Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academy since 2006. Verkoyen is also an independent artist who makes ceramic murals, dishes, vases, and sculptures, which she imprints with designs that combine the past and present, and the natural and the artificial.
During a visit to a small ceramics shop in Jingdezhen, the region that was the heart of the Chinese pottery industry for over 1,700 years, Verkoyen saw impressive, paper-thin porcelain bowls up to 60 cm in diameter. She decided to order a few of these technically exquisite vessels to imprint with her own designs at her Amsterdam studio. Using special 3D software, Verkoyen creates linear drawings that accentuate the eggshell porcelain’s ethereal, delicate character. The pieces visualize Verkoyen’s utopian worldview, in which insect-like beings have taken man’s place and where the machines and methods of growth and construction have become intertwined—a consequence of the continuous technological and biological evolution in our universe.
Huge quantities of Chinese porcelain were imported into the Netherlands during the 17th and 18th century. This included pottery especially made for the European market known as “Chine de commande,” as well as blanks or pieces painted in simple shades, intended to be further decorated in the Netherlands into colorful designs now known as “Amsterdam Bont.”
Verkoyen’s treatment of bowls continues this Chinese-Dutch relationship. But her original handling of the material and contemporary techniques make her work distinctly personal.
Claire Verkoyen is one of the 26 designers and studios that are selected for the group show Dream Out Loud – Designing for Tomorrow’s Demands. The exhibition can be visited from 26 August 2016 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Read more about the exhibition or order tickets.