Working with casts made of wax, animal skins, hair, textiles, metal and wood, Berlinde De Bruyckere renders haunting distortions of organic forms. The vulnerability and fragility of man, the suffering body – both human and animal – and the overwhelming power of nature are some of the core motifs of De Bruyckere’s oeuvre.
De Bruyckere is profoundly influenced by traditions of the Flemish Renaissance. Drawing from the legacies of the European Old Masters and Christian iconography, as well as mythology and cultural lore, De Bruyckere layers existing histories with new narratives suggested by current events to create a psychological terrain of pathos, tenderness, and unease. The dualities of love and suffering, danger and protection, life and death and the human need for understanding are the universal themes De Bruyckere has been dealing with since the beginning of her career.
‘I want to show how helpless a body can be,’ De Bruyckere has said. ‘Which is nothing you have to be afraid of — it can be something beautiful.’
Berlinde De Bruyckere was born in Ghent, Belgium in 1964, where she currently lives and works. De Bruyckere’s sculptures and drawings have been the subject of exhibitions in major institutions worldwide including Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2021); Middelheimmuseum, Antwerp, Belgium (2020) ; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2019); Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2018); Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark (2017); Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria (2016); Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France (2015); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2015); Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria (2015); Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2015); Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria (2013). In 2013 De Bruyckere was selected to represent Belgium at the 55th Venice Biennale where she unveiled her monumental work ‘Kreupelhout – Cripplewood’.
In 2022 De Bruyckere will have major solo presentations at MO.CO Montpellier Contemporain, Montepellier, France and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen, Germany.
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