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Harmonious memory – ‘Axel Vervoordt: Stories & Reflections’ by Axel Vervoordt with Michael James

Believe it or not, just when I thought the tide of art fair has over, here comes another wave, the Affordable Art Fair, by mid of next month, and when some of the art lovers (including myself) who would simply like to take a break to digest all the beautiful art pieces that they have seen barely about half a month ago, now we are about to make rooms in our head to welcome the new (art)works; I sometimes wondered, as an art connoisseur or viewer, how can one process such enormous volume of artwork, in such a diverse genre, quantity (of artists and exhibitors) in such short period of time, without taking a break for the mind to think, explore, understand and even digest the special technique and effort that an artist had spent on each particular piece of work? Just like when a career-obsessed entrepreneur drowning his life into work, perhaps one should step back to regain their life back, even just a little break for a nice cocktail or whisky (not over-drink) or simply detach from all the text messages or emails just for an hour, sometimes a little pause can be very therapeutic and good for one’s health, as for me, one of my favorite way of a little pause, is reading a good book by the sofa alone without any disturbance, to me, it’s one of the relaxing way to recharge the body, nourishing the soul, and stimulating the creativity. Given that I realized that one of my respected antiquarian and interior designer, Mr. Axel Vervoordt, has a new book just come out recently, which unlike any of the previous books that published, this one reveals something more intimate and honest about his life and the people that had made an impact to him, it literally intrigues me immensely to unveil this beautiful book and entering his creative world.

Titled as ‘Axel Vervoordt: Stories & Reflections’, this book serves as a visual memory of the world of the designer’s life, from his youth of acquisition of a Magritte, discovering Japanese Gutai art and insights from esteemed artists and musicians; apart from all these which are pretty work-related, one of the most touching part of this book, is his stories about the people around him and gave him influence throughout his life – his family, friends, colleagues, clients and unforgettable mentors, with these memories captured in photos, in a way, it feels like a very gentle gesture of expressing his gratitude to those who gave such a positive impact and support to his life.

By gathering all these beautiful and harmonious fragments of memory, expressed it in a visual form with an understated and sophisticated manner about the significance of the fundamental connection of a human being – love, serenity, harmony and longevity. We might be living in a fast-paced world with information and newness that are relatively short-lived and disposable before chasing for the next new thing, to me, this book is more than something about the artistic achievements and a fraction of the designer’s life, but a gentle and emotional reminder of cherishing one’s way of living, the life we have at the present, and the mindfulness about the remarkable people around you, to express your care, love and gratitude in every given moment, paying attention to those, or even things around us, from the mother nature to a historic monument, from a masterpiece to a delicate hand-crafted sculpture, or even from an artisanal and thoughtful decorated interior to a very simple hand-written letter from your family, these little things are something that forms a slice of our life and knit our own story, a story that is unique that creates a meaning to live in our way as well as reminding us about the appreciation of beauty, to be mindful and conscious that sometimes a little kindness and thoughtfulness can literally changes the life of another.

Maybe that’s the reason that art intrigues me so much, not just the color and style from the artist but the story and his / her philosophy behind. To my dear readers, I sincerely wish you all a harmonious read.

Image courtesy of Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Kanaal.

‘Axel Vervoordt: Stories and Reflections’ by Axel Vervoordt with Michael James Gardner, published by Axel Vervoordt Flammarion, 2018.

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