20. Apr 2022  |  Announcements

The visit to the museum requires the wearing of a medical mask


Berlinde De Bruyckere

PEL / Becoming the figure
03. Jul 2022 – 08. Jan 2023

  • Berlinde De Bruyckere | Courtyard Tales, 2017-2018
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    Berlinde De Bruyckere | Courtyard Tales, 2017-2018
    © Berlinde De Bruyckere | Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth | photo: Mirjam Devriendt
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere | Lichaam (Corps), 2002-2006
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    Berlinde De Bruyckere | Lichaam (Corps), 2002-2006
    © Berlinde De Bruyckere | Galleria Continua | photo: Mirjam Devriendt
  • Berlinde De Bruyckere | Marsyas, 2020
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    Berlinde De Bruyckere | Marsyas, 2020
    © Berlinde De Bruyckere | Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, The Netherlands | photo: Ela Bialkowska

About the exhibition

Berlinde De Bruyckere (b. 1964, living and working in Ghent, Belgium) is one of the most important international sculptors of our time. The artist’s sculptures, which are at once fascinating und disconcerting, literally get under the skin of the viewers. The human being plays a predominant role in her work. In a subtle and empathic way the artist addresses the physical and emotional wounds of her ›protagonists‹. The body shells touch us with their intense woundedness, vulnerability and melancholy, ranging between beauty and ugliness, vitality and death, harmony and deformation, figurativeness and abstraction. Her works are testimonies to visible and perceptible processes of transformation in human life.

In De Bruyckere’s work, the representation of the human figure fundamentally follows the classical processes of creation. Here, the choice of wax as a material, which she works on as if in a painterly process, plays a decisive role for the sculptures as they are executed in such a realistic way. This also becomes a defining element in her series of body fragments, which, often heavily deformed and reminiscent of fleshy lumps, demand a high degree of intrepidity and aesthetic perceptiveness from the recipients.

The immediacy of her works arises from the different postures of the dancers whom Berlinde De Bruyckere works with. First and foremost, with the Portuguese dancer Romeu Runa, who will enact three dance performances in connection with her works at the Arp Museum. The interaction of art and dance illustrates how body postures reveal deeply moving inner constitutions.

Since 1999, horses have also played a special role in her oeuvre. De Bruyckere is fascinated by the beauty, soulfulness and strength of these animals. Her intensive study of historical images from the archives of the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres, Belgium, made her visualise the cruel fate of millions of horses as victims on the battlefields of Flanders during the First World War.

Alongside the creaturely sculptural works and drawings, which were accomplished in parallel to individual series of works, there will also be a large textile work on display in the exhibition. Used and weathered blankets with different patterns and colours are reminiscent of removed frescoes, which, like a relief, the artist composes in relation to each other. Once, every single blanket protected and warmed people. They are testimonies to unknown biographies of human life. This still and fragile work pacifies the challenging intensity of Berlinde De Bruyckere’s sculptural cosmos.

Once again, the light-flooded spaces of Richard Meier’s new building – a realm in between heaven and earth – transform the terrifying into the beautiful and sublime.


Curator of Contemporary Art

Jutta Mattern M.A.

+49 2228 9425-13

Curatorial Assistant

Meike Eiberger M.A.

+49 2228 9425-15

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