Of tender skin is a return to recurrent themes and materials in de Bruyckere’s work; yet make no mistake, these sculptures and drawings take the original concepts to an entirely new direction. Continuing to confront the viewer, these unique pieces of contemporary art manage to straddle the dizzying lines between mortality and sensuality.
Berlinde de Bruyckere: horses and sculptural practice
Since the start of her career in 1999, De Bruckere has consistently employed equine imagery in her work. For this latest exhibition de Bruyckere has created a series of hanging wall sculptures composed of wax, leather, cloth, rope, iron and epoxy resin in response to her visit to an abatoir last year. Inert, raw, bulbous and hugely visceral, the contrast of materials invokes a discombobulating split between concurrent dualities: soft and hard, male and female, decay and resilience. The gnarled, organic shapes bring to mind relics of a forgotten age or strange talismanic objects that manage to at once attract and repel.
Hauser & Wirth: Berlinde de Bruyckere exhibition highlights
Also on display is After Cripplewood I, 2013 – 2014 (2014), a development of the dazzling monolithic sculpture, Kreupelhout – Cripplewood (2012 – 2013), which received critical acclaim at the Venice Biennale 2013. At the Hauser and Wirth Gallery London, the mammoth tree trunk from the Biennale has been adapted to a more human scale and anthropomorphic form that recalls pink sinewy ligaments, rheumatoid joints and bone. Resting on a makeshift trestle resembling a stretcher, one cannot help but think of the terrible fronts of Passchendale, Ypres and Arras that decimated the Belgian countryside during the First World War. Here, de Bruyckere’s sculpture appears living, though momentarily silenced.
Of all the exhibitions in London 2014, ‘Of tender skin’ is not for the fainthearted, but if you’re prepared to embrace the dark, visceral aspect to de Bruyckere’s work, you’ll find it’s also truly enlightening and rapturous along the way.
|What||Berlinde de Bruyckere: Of tender skin, Hauser & Wirth|
|Where||Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row, London, W1S 2ET | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
27 Nov 14 – 10 Jan 15, Open Tuesday - Saturday
|Website||Click here for more information|