Rutger de Vries at RijksakademieOpen

A month ago Rutger de Vries (1987) opened its studio doors during the RijksakademieOpen 2017 together with 44 other artists and presented two installations created during his two years’ residency at the prestigious Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

The works by De Vries showcase both his background, firmly rooted in graffiti, and his taste for building machinery – this time spray units. He investigated how these relate to the space ‘in situ’ and returns to the fundamental idea within the graffiti scene of claiming a place, occupying a space. The result: two works that are both an intervention in the architecture of the Rijksakademie. Although De Vries controls the input by directing these systems, the self-designed equipment ultimately determines which composition, shape and intensity the paintings will take.

While the RijksakademieOpen 2017 marked the end of De Vries’ residency, the ‘Residue’ of his installations will be presented as part of his upcoming solo exhibition at Mini Galerie, opening Saturday January 27th 2018.

Photography by Gert Jan van Rooij

For the three-dimensional installation Spectrum De Vries created a completely new space. When creating this work, De Vries was inspired by the Spectrum paintings by minimalist Ellsworth Kelly – which were based on the colour spectrum discovered by Isaac Newton.

De Vries placed garden sprinklers at different heights thus visualizing the wavelengths of the colour spectrum: the higher the frequency of the colour in the spectrum, the higher the sprinkler. By linking common utensils such as fire extinguishers and garden sprinklers to each other, De Vries also plays with the perception of these objects. He emphasizes their sculptural characteristics and reminds simultaneously the viewer of the domestic origin of the reconstructed machines.

The gradient installation, Primary Secondary, is an oversized canvas, which extends diagonally through all floors of the Rijksakademie, even claiming the floor. Inspired by the printing technique ‘IRIS printing’, in which different colours of ink are placed on a roll or screen in order to print a gradient, De Vries designed a tube in which the primary colours mix before it sprays the paint. De Vries chose for the primary colours as a system, because these form the basis from which all other colours originate. The black shade of the three industrial 50-litre fire extinguishers that spray the paint, contrasts with them strongly. By depriving the fire extinguishers of their original colour, De Vries plays with the sculptural characteristics of the object and alienates it from its domestic origin.