Region/Concept: Europe, Body (Fleshness)
Sub-concepts: Mutation, Transformation, Vulnerability
Description: Staggering installations by artist Berlinde De Bruyckere.
Theory: Without doubt, a confrontation occurs when one lays eyes on these installations: a form of a horse carefully crafted yet frozen in development before it is fully actualized; a human body that extends into heavy branches pulling its back toward the ground; a body with missing parts; or else isolated parts (antlers of a deer) piled together. This is the work of a new butcher, one that has certainly learned from the old masters, but then in silent solitude went to invent her own counter-procedure: the flesh (which looks alive) is rendered with wax, a material that does not rot; the bodies are not open through the the wounds that announce its death, but rather, each is closed in on itself. Sometimes we do not even see the transition or a surgical scar (there are no seams); all is smooth, curled, curved, coiled. There is no specific wound because the entire body is a wound, closed but not healing, suspended in what it exactly is: a constant mutation of forces that inhabit the flesh and thus form the body. The act of twisting as a gesture of cruelty already. She is a rare and original butcher that does not open up but instead twists, smooths, and transmogrifies so that it is hard to see fleshy deformations. Yet the more one looks the more one sees the beauty: the tactile seduction of the wax, the horse hair and skin, the pillows and the hooks, the marvelous wooden tables and cabinets which surround the bodies simultaneously exposing and protecting them. In the end, nothing but beauty extracted (slowly and brutally) from its own infinity.
Posted by: Dejan Lukic