Sunday 6 June 2021

Berlinde De Bruyckere: Engelenkeel

Berlinde De Bruyckere: Engelenkeel on show at Bonnefanten museum in Maastricht.
10.02.2021 — 26.09.2021 

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. 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. 

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