EXHIBITION: BERLINDE DE BRUYCKERE IN GEMEENTEMUSEUM DEN HAAG

THRILLING HUMANE SCULPTURES

This is artistic work that you won’t be able to understand by just seeing a picture. Maybe you won’t be attracted to it at all, at first. Either way it will find a way to get to you when you meet with these humane sculptures in real life.

Berlinde de Bruyckere shows sculputures that have a vulnerable story, pain and death are revealed in the skin like wax figures. They are downhearted and fragile. I didn’t feel any urge to come closer at all. Repulsion and a certain anxiety took over. But the longer I stayed in one room with these creatures, the more I went from repulsion to nursing. To do so in 3 min. is quite strange… The red patches and ‘wounds’ give the impression of a tortured body that survived and therefor recalls a nursing feeling I guess. Some of De Bruyckere’s work also suggest associations with the religious symbolism. In one of the rooms there’s a pyre of stacked antlers, which -to me- looked like a abstract version of a crucified body.

What évery piece recalled was suffering. Wich is exactly what Berlinde de Bruyckere wants to point out. Every day we are being confronted with so many sorrow and grief through mass media, that it became a daily business to us. Making us totally cold-hearted about other people’s suffering. Are you touched when you watch the news? I’m pretty sure you don’t cry your eyes out… When we go to work everyday, concerning about our diner for that night, think about another human being -just like you- who is struggling, suffering maybe to just stay alive.

The Belgian artist constructs her sculptures of wax, resin, rope and worn leather or textile and strings together separate wax parts to create single bodies. Usually no faces are shown or even constructed at all – She is concerned solely with bodies; faces are concealed behind shocks of hair or cloths. Horses are also an important symbol in her oeuvre, used primarily as a metaphor to express profound human emotions surrounding death and mortality.

The exhibition of Berlinde de Bruyckere is on view in Gemeentemuseum Den Haag from 28th february – 31st may 2015