Contemporary ceramic sculpture is often quite small. It suggests an intimacy and preciousness that most fine art no longer has therefore it is possible to argue that work like Bechtold's is an art of private negotiation between one artist and an individual purchaser or collector - rather than one aimed at a public audience. The individual purchaser, attracted to the ceramic work, hears the story that accompanies it and takes both text and object away as a minor art work for his or her private contemplation and pleasure"

Taken from: The New Ceramics 1994 by Peter Dormer


Why would you reconstuct something that never existed?
Because I need to.
No other reason than the need.

The grailstory is one of those stories that allows for endless speculation and imagination.
My reconstructions are just that: they tell stories. Stories of how I saw/see the world.
At the time (1980's) it was very hard for me, to speak about the things that ocupied my head.

I am a visual artist and as such, my language is images, things, objects... Not so much words...
I reconstructed one of the world's icons: the holy grail, and I did so for over a hundred times.

The holy grail, for me, is about the good things in life and how we, people, always destroy them. 
Mankind is a species that builds and destroys; over and over again.

This work reminds us of the myths and stories with which we try to understand the world around us, try to understand why we are here on this earth. 
In most cultures you can find similar myths and stories.

I started this series in 1986 and worked on it until 1998.

83rd reconstruction of the remains of the holy grail, 1992

subtitle:"Jeroen Bechtold me fecit"
porcelain, mountingtechniques, polyglazed, m-o-pearl-luster.
height: 39 cm, diameter 40cm


detail of the 83rd reconstruction


The first pieces were then simply called: 'grail', or now: 'pre-grail'.
Icons emerged, first as glaze-paintings, soon to be taken over by reliefs and low reliefs and the name evolved into:
"reconstruction of the remains of the holy grail"

But sadly, one needs words, if only to communicate with 'the ones' that cannot read the images. ('the ones' are many)

I had to 'explain' the multilayered meanings of the works to journalists, customers and became -it took a while- quite good at it.

But with becoming good at talking, I lost the need to make. (so much easier to talk)

I lost the ability, the need, the urge to make.
Still feel sad about it.

The 109th reconstruction was the last work I did in this series, leaving an emptiness that took some years to get over.

These monumental sculptural porcelain objects tell the story of a culture desintegrating. 
Remains of great architecture, icons of past art-styles and religion are embedded in big irregular vessels with clean polished insides of pure 22 Kt gold or platinum. 
The title of these pieces refer to a myth; the myth of the holy grail is about the bowl that once held the blood of Jesus Christ.


you may notice that the numbers are not complete.

the ones that 'never were', are still counted, they 'still are'.
Not for you, but for me. I have them in my head, in my heart. Maybe you can say, they are virtual. As virtual as my virtual works.

This, to me, is exactly what my work is about: it exists, no matter what. It exists for me.

And I make my work for me.
Oh, I am happy when a collector joins in on my journey, I am happy knowing that you read this, and hopefully feel with me. But I do make my work because I need to.

Never, never just to please....

detail of the 83rd reconstruction


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