We are all flesh

Berlinde de Bruyckere ‘We are all flesh’, installation view, ACCA, Melbourne

The work of Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere invokes a strange pathos.  Her current show at ACCA features two sculptures (commissioned specifically for the exhibition) comprised of a pair of horse carcasses suspended from poles, one from the wall, the other freestanding.  Impressive in scale, the stretched and contorted creatures are made from stitched up hides re-stretched over wax casts.  And they’re headless – a modification that makes them distinctly unsettling.  The reconfigured creatures are both monumental and melancholic; a moving foil to the heroic beasts found in history paintings and classical sculpture.

Berlinde de Bruyckere, installation view

This sense of insidious sadness is further teased out in works of great delicacy – in a cabinet of curiosities filled with branches cast from wax, and in stringed up sets of wax antlers that transition from pure white into veins of bloody red. We are all flesh is a show of great subtlety, even tenderness, in which de Bruyckere’s biomorphic forms gently capture a haunting, decidedly human vulnerability.

Berlinde de Bruyckere, We are all flesh, at ACCA, Melbourne, until July 29th

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