Interview at ACCA, We are all Flesh, 2012

Berlinde De Bruyckere in conversation at her exhibition We are all Flesh at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Berlinde explains her use of the ACCA spaces as you move through the galleries and encounter her new works ‘We are all Flesh’. She reveals the influences behind each work and her methodologies, working with wax, horsehide, and other materials.

Berlinde De Bruyckere: We are all Flesh
2 June – 29 July 2012

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

We are all Flesh will include the rarely seen and iconic work 019 and two new commissions created specially for this exhibition.

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.

The Pillow, 2010
We are all Flesh, 2010-2012
019, 2007
Inside Me III, 2012
Romeau “my deer” I, IV, V & III, 2012
Courtesy the artist, various private collections, Hauser & Wurth and Galleria Continua

Video Production: Emma Sullivan