• Berlinde De Bruyckere: Engelenkeel
  • 2021-02-09T00:00:00+01:00
  • 2021-06-27T23:59:59+02:00
  • In the spring of 2021, the Bonnefanten will set the scene for the latest exhibition by Berlinde De Bruyckere (Ghent, 1964). De Bruyckere has been a leading light in the international contemporary art world for many years already.

Her raw, intriguing sculptures, installations and drawings draw strength from vulnerability and tenderness in the face of relentlessness. In this exhibition, she is taking new steps on her artistic path, in search of the meaning of humanity, physicality, suffering and vitality. The themes in De Bruyckere’s work have a universal and timeless value. But they gain extra urgency in times when, prompted by an unknown pandemic, the need for human connection is greater than ever, while at the same time the body has become a danger to mankind.

De Bruyckere’s compelling sculptures have a long and complex creative history. Much of her work is constructed of wax, resin, rope, skins and canvas, which she sometimes exposes to the elements for years before incorporating them into her art. Despite their confronting character the sculptures cry out to be touched and stroked, and exude warmth and the tangibility of existence. It is this powerful resonance that has made De Bruyckere one of the most important West European artists, ever since the early days of her career. Her oeuvre has been honoured by solo exhibitions all over the world. She has received several awards and has participated twice in the Venetian Biennale: in 2003 in the main pavilion, and in 2013 when she represented Belgium, in collaboration with Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee. The Bonnefanten is the stage for her first Dutch solo exhibition since 2015.

Following two mid-career retrospectives illustrating the period 2000-2014, De Bruyckere is now showing her most recent work in the Bonnefanten. In this exhibition, she will focus on the period from 2014 up to the present. It will include work that has never be seen before. These monumental works are inspired by the idea of an angel, as portrayed in myths, stories, literature and art history. Conceived in the loneliness and isolation of the corona crisis, the angel guards against a lonely existence and, even more importantly, against a lonely death. According to Berlinde, an angel – with its warm, dark wings – provides protection; a refuge from fear. It is a wonderful example of the fragile line De Bruyckere treads between artistic poeticism and engagement with current affairs.

The exhibition Engelenkeel has been put together with recent work from 2014 to the present. The themes on which De Bruyckere has focused in recent years have been brought together here for the first time, revealing their underlying common ground. The Bonnefanten also presents her latest, never-before-seen work, which saw the light of day during the corona crisis.

Header image: Berlinde De Bruyckere, Arcangelo III, 2020, wax, wood, animal hair, metal, epoxy. Photo: Mirjam Devriendt