Pedro Cera

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Inspired by themes derived from collective memory, present-day social and political events, mythology, Christian iconography and Renaissance painting, the timeless works of the Belgian (Ghent-based) artist Berlinde De Bruyckere are characteristic of a unique language bridging the archaic with the most contemporary. Making the body, both human and animal, and that of plants, its central motives, the practice of De Bruyckere points to the vulnerability and fragility of the living while addressing themes of mortality and pain, but also of beauty. The sense of ambiguity is a common denominator for most of Berlinde De Bruyckere’s works, a tool allowing for the universality and openness of her work. Using natural and seemingly humble materials such as wax, wood, metal, fabric, or animal skin, her practice transforms organic elements into enigmatic sculptures, where the idea of transformation and metamorphosis relates equally to the work’s materiality, as well as to its manifold conceptual layers pointing to the complex emotional and metaphysical bodily states that are subject to continuous transformation, healing, and rebirth.

De Bruyckere’s sculptures and drawings have been the subject of numerous exhibitions in major institutions worldwide. These include City of Refuge II, DIMU, Freising, Germany, ‘PEL – Becoming the Figure, Arp Museum, Remagen, Germany (2022), ‘Plunder/Ekphrasis, MO.CO, Montpellier, France (2022), ‘Engelenkeel’, Bonnefanten, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2021), ‘Aletheia’, Fondazione Sandretto Re rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2019-2020), ‘Il Mantello’ (5x5x5 event for Manifesta 12), Santa Venera Church, Palermo, Sicily (2018), ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere’, Sara Hilden Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2018), ‘Embalmed’, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2017), ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. Suture’, Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria (2016); ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. Penthesilea’, Mus.e d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France (2015); ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. The Embalmer’, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2015); ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. The Embalmer’, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria (2015); ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere’, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2015); ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. In the Flesh’, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria (2013); ‘Philippe Vandenberg & Berlinde De Bruyckere. Innocence is precisely: never to avoid the worst’, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands (2012) which traveled to La Maison Rouge – Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris, France (2014); ‘We are all Flesh’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2012); ‘The Wound’, Arter, Istanbul, Turkey (2012); ‘Mysterium Leib. Berlinde De Bruyckere im Dialog mit Cranach und Pasolini’ at Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle, Germany and Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2011); DHC / ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2011); and ‘E.n’, De Pont Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands (2005) among other. In 2013 De Bruyckere was selected to represent Belgium at the 55th Venice Biennale where she unveiled her monumental work ‘Kreupelhout – Cripplewood’, a collaboration with Nobel Prize novelist J.M. Coetzee.

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