DONT’T TOUCH ME
Exhibition: Brutto Gusto fine_arts, Berlin
Date: April 27 – June 29, 2018
It all started in the summer of 2017 when Frank Bruggeman bought a globular hanging Mobach vase, a Dutch design icon from the late 1970s, on the internet. To his dismay the vase arrived in sherds. Something had gone terribly wrong on the way from seller to buyer. An attempt at repair was useless: the fragments were simply too many. When Bruggeman noticed that he could not throw away the fragments of this Mobach vase, he started thinking about another destination. Bruggeman decided that the sherds had to become part of a three-dimensional vase again. This is how his first sherd vase came about, in which fragments were attached to a cylindrical container in such a way that they only gained expressiveness. The result is a new vase that looks far more vulnerable than the “donor vase” but at the same time conveys the message: do not touch me because I can also seriously hurt you.
After that first sherd vase, Bruggeman realized that similar vases could also be made stemming from a completely different emotion than sadness. In many languages there is a wisdom that says “Sherds bring good luck” (“Scherben bringen Glück”) referring to a ritual in which ceramic and earthenware objects are smashed on purpose on the eve of or shortly after a wedding ceremony. In Germany this ritual is part of the Polterabend tradition. The ceramic and earthenware objects that are smashed during this ritual have mostly no longer any use or have lost their appeal to the owners. With this ritual in mind, Bruggeman deliberately destroyed a number of ceramic vases and earthenware objects from his own collection in order to process the fragments into sherd vases.
Sherds connected to unhappiness and sherds that call for happiness, both ultimately yielding the same result. Which is no surprise because happiness and unhappiness are reverse sides of the same medal. What is happiness other than the absence of unhappiness? Only those who have ever been deeply unhappy will truly understand what happiness is.