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p 7 • FALL/WINTER 2010


“I want to create the kind of sculpture that just barely doesn’t fall over.” Kees Buckens By Dorine Esser

Kees Buckens (b. 1957 in Breda, the Netherlands) was trained at the Royal Academy for Art and Design (now part of the St Joost Academy of Art and Design) in Den Bosch, and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. The famous Dutch painter Ger Lataster immediately recognized the sculptor in him, and threw him out of the painting class.

His background as a painter has not entirely disappeared, however. Kees Buckens has become so good at working on wood or stone using a chainsaw that it almost looks as if he is painting with it. His granite sculptures, often consisting of components stacked one on top of the other, seem to defy gravity. On closer examination, the initial impression of solidity that they create soon gives way to a high degree of refinement, both in concept and in execution. The unshakeable behemoths balance precariously in defiance of nature, thus bringing into sharp focus their vulnerability.


Buckens likes to work in public spaces; he works mainly in stone, but over the last few years has also increasingly worked in wood. One of his favourite projects is in the forgotten blue collar neighbourhood of Kralingse Veer, at the edge of world port Rotterdam. On a small square were 10 poplar trees that needed to be felled for safety reasons. Buckens submitted a plan for creating tree art from the tree stumps left behind. On the banks of the Maas, under the hands of Buckens and an assistant, a playful garden of plants and flowers was created. Buckens described it as, “Art for the people, and at the same time a demonstration of what can be done with wood. And it’s temporary. This garden doesn’t have any pretenses to lasting for all eternity.”

Name: Born:

Education: Living in:

Kees Buckens 1957

Royal Academy for Art and Design Breda,

The Netherlands inspiration: Ger Lataster

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