Berlinde de Bruyckere at ACCA

Yesterday was the perfect day to go check out Berlinde de Bruyckere’s show ‘We are all Flesh’ at ACCA. It was well worth the hike in the wind and rain! Upon seeing the show, some of my classmates had reported having been perturbed. I can understand how de Bruyckere’s sculptures can elicit discomfort. Personally, I think there is something both beautiful and fragile in the exhibition. Mortality is explored by the artist using horse hides and wax sculptures among other materials. One thing I noticed was how deceitful some pieces were at first glance. Upon closer inspection, I realised how the artist, for example, had stitched 2 horse hides together, recreating something which has yet to be defined. I experienced the same illusion in the representation of veins and arteries at

the surface of the wax-made wood-like sculptures. The way the artist combined the human and plant world is fascinating. Perhaps, the idea of blood underneath the trunk barks is crossing the line for some viewers, suggesting the grotesque. As de Bruyckere mentioned in an interview for ACCA, there is something to be more perturbed about with the violence found in everyday news. She is right. Being reminded of our mortality with art can also be frightening. Needless to say, the way de Bruyckere explores the concept of mortality and human vulnerability is aesthetically pleasing and worth checking out.

I see some similarities between her work and Louise Bourgeois’ and Kiki Smith’s, whom I admire both.

Patricia Piccinini had listed de Bruyckere as one of her inspirations. From now on, both Piccinini and I have something in common.