Berlinde De Bruyckere has been described as ‘one of the most gifted sculptors of her generation’; her recent sculpture has focussed largely on two strands of work, one featuring taxidermy with particular reference to horses and another featuring wax sculptures of naked, distorted, headless human figures.

Although there is a temptation to read De Bruyckere’s drawings as ‘studies’ for her sculptural work, she insists that they co-exist alongside her sculpture as independent works of art. Nevertheless, it is difficult to separate the two entirely, and indeed there are clear links between them: the small pin holes at each corner of these drawings show where they were once pinned on the wall of the artist’s studio and where, displayed alongside reproductions of the Old Master paintings and photographs of contemporary news stories of suffering, violence and torture, they may have provided a source of inspiration and a way to explore and develop themes and ideas. As to the particulars of these works, Romeu 'my deer' is a life drawing featuring ‘Romeu’, a dancer who is depicted with deer antlers, a frequent motif in the artist’s current work and symbolic of being destroyed by desire. The artist has stated that she invited dancers to work with her because of their ‘expressive qualities’ and the pose here is one that shows strength and endurance but also strain. The second drawing, The Wound, 2011 demonstrates De Bruyckere’s interest in scar tissue and wounds which are ‘a sign of being, a hole that makes you aware that the body has an inside’. Presented by the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.


The artist; Hauser & Wirth.

Exhibitions at York Art Gallery

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