PREVIEW: Visions in Porcelain: A Rake’s Progress, Sir John Soane’s Museum

The exhibition will feature the work of acclaimed artist Bouke de Vries.

Images (L to R): Bouke de Vries working on the series in his studio; The figure of the Rake, as featured in Bouke De Vries’ new work, alongside The Arrest, by William Hogarth; A vase from Visions in Porcelain: A Rake’s Progress, in the North Drawing Room at Sir John Soane’s Museum. All photos by Sylvain Deleu.

Sir John Soane’s Museum have announced details of its upcoming new exhibition Visions in Porcelain: A Rake’s Progress, which will go on display from the 7th June until the 10th September.

This new display is set to feature a set of eight newly made vases inspired by William Hogarth’s series, A Rakes Progress, created by London-based, Dutch artist Bouke de Vries. The new pieces will be displayed in the museum’s Foyle Space and will mirror the eight paintings in Hogarth’s famous work, housed in the Soane Museum’s Picture Room.

Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress follows the swift demise of Tom Rakewell, the heir of a rich merchant who squanders his inherited wealth, leading to his ruin and ultimately, madness. Visions in Porcelain is set to begin with a celadon vase, representing the promise of Hogarth’s youthful subject. De Vries proceeds to explore the painting’s inherent theme of degradation through the ever-darkening palate of increasingly fractured vases. The result is a succession of cracked, slumped and eventually imploding vessels whose compromised state can not be prevented, even through the artful employment of the artist’s increasingly drastic methods of restoration.

In addition, a specially commissioned film will accompany the exhibition. This film will feature insights from the Soane’s curatorial team into the connections between de Vries’ work and Hogarth’s series, as well as an interview with the artist and independent curator and writer Kathleen Soriano.

The exhibition will open alongside Architects’ Houses, celebrating five London houses, all of which, like the Soane Museum, have been designed by the architects who lived – and in some cases still live – in them. The featured houses are designed by five major figures from the history of British Architecture.

Bouke de Vries said: “I first visited the Sir John Soane’s Museum almost 40 years ago and have long been inspired by the works of Hogarth. A Rake’s Progress is a captivating series and appeals to me due to its satirical and dark narrative. It has been a pleasure to reimagine this tale of woe in porcelain, displaying it only feet away from Hogarth’s original paintings.”

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