Berlinde de Bruyckere:
We Are All Flesh

2 Jun–29 Jul 2012

ACCA Main Exhibition Gallery

The first Australian solo exhibition by Belgian artist, Berlinde de Bruyckere, We are all flesh included a selection of sculptures made using wax, wood, wool, horse skin and hair. De Bruyckere is known for her haunting sculptures that capture humans, animals and trees in metamorphosis – torsos morphed into branches, trees captured and displayed inside old museum cabinets, and a cast horse strung upside down. Her exhibition at ACCA included a major new commission for the main gallery as well as existing works. It was described as brutal, challenging, beautiful, inspiring, frightening and comforting.

Berlinde De Bruyckere uses wax, wood, wool, horse skin and hair to make haunting sculptures of humans, animals and trees in metamorphosis.

Based in her home town of Ghent, Berlinde De Bruyckere’s studio is an old neo-Gothic Catholic school house. From here she creates her incredible sculptures – torsos morph into branches, trees are captured and displayed inside old museum cabinets and cast horses are crucified upside down in works that have been described as brutal, challenging, inspiring and both frightening and comforting.

Heavily influenced by the old masters, De Bruyckere’s early years at boarding school were spent hiding in the library, pouring over books on the history of catholic art. She went on to study at the Saint-Lucas Visual Arts School in Ghent, and was known in the early stages of her career for using old woolen blankets in her works, sometimes simply stacked on tables of beds, a response to news footage she had seen of blanket-swathed refugees in Rwanda.

Her breakthrough work In Flanders Fields, five life-size splay-legged horses captured in the throes of death, was commissioned by the In Flanders Fields Museum, in the town of Ypres, the site of the legendary World War 1 battle. She was then invited to participate in the 2003 Venice Biennale, and the subsequent work, an equine form curled up on a table titled Black Horse, firmly established her on the international scene.

She has since had solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth in Zurich and New York and in prestigious museums across Europe.

“Berlinde De Bruyckere creates works that recall the visceral gothic of Flemish tre-cento art, updated to a new consideration of the human condition,” says Juliana Engberg, ACCA Artistic Director.

“Her work taps into our human need to experience transformation and transcendence, to experience great depths of feeling transferred from the animal to human. Through experiencing Berlinde’s amazing sculptural works we come closer to the human condition and the tragedy and drama of mortality, out of which something miraculous occurs in metamorphosis.”

Commissioning Curator: Juliana Engberg

This exhibition was sponsored by Audi

Audio Files

Forum on Flesh: Martyn Pedler, Dr Robyn Warner, Lance Proctor, Dr Wendy Haslem, Nick Halam, Adrian Richardson
Forum: The Word Became Flesh, Dr Rachael Kohn and Dr Claire Renkin in conversation with Juliana Engberg