born in Meers (Elsloo, Limburg) in 1948
Education: Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design
His work is an impressive attempt to find a balance
between our existence and the awareness of being but a footnote in the great
order of things.
"I just have to get them out" Michelangelo once said about
his sculptures. It's no surprise that Berghs is an admirer of his work.
"I couldn't keep my eyes of it" he said upon a visit to the Academia
in Florence. He wasn't referring to the generally-praised David. Berghs' admiration
was directed towards the series of socalled slaves. Unfinished
Once intended for a papal monument, but by some whim of fate halfway stuck in
the stone. Stone blossoms, that's what these slaves in their youthful
attractiveness might be understood to be. Berghs was especially fascinated by
their unfinished and therefore modern character. The contrast between the rough
block and the polished skin. The
inconceivable age of the one, and the
vulnarable transience of the other are still fascinatingly attractive.
Unintentionally, Michelangelo has inspired many an artist. Rodin was deeply
impressed and Berghs too couldn't escape the fascination of this ambiguity.
Dualism determined modernism from beginning to end. Of course, in this
beautiful contrast between rough stone and vulnerable human skin there is also
something universal, something beyond the literal meaning of these sculptures.
It takes little effort to recognize our two-line way of thinking. We think in
pairs. Our world view is determined by the
concept of contrast and there is always a slight shiver when they are
presented side by side. Some even say that there the essence of art lies.
Certainly Piet Berghs more and more sets his hand to this aspect of our
existence. As from The Light catcher, it seems as if
anything superfluous is eliminated. Or as if any reference to a reality outside
of the sculpture is shunned more and more. The artist dares to show the
things more as they are. A sign of maturity, you would say. But also a
rejuvenation, for Berghs approaches the essence closer and closer.
Ridsert Hoekstra, Conservator Stedelijk Museum Roermond:
With his approach of stone Piet Berghs
has an unique position in the
Dutch and European sculpture.
He is a man with a love for
stone. "I soften
stone" he says chisseling.
It seems as if he wants to put
life into it.