Berlinde De Bruyckere

Selected works by Berlinde De Bruyckere

Berlinde De Bruyckere
K 21 (with detail)


Horse skin, horse hair, epoxy resin, iron, wood, glass

193 x 177 x 96 cm
An unsettling, reconfigured concept of the body, helpless yet contorted, takes centre stage in Berlinde de Bruyckere’s faceless sculptures. Abject deformation is turned into beauty as if the artist is trying to wrestle a shape from abstract form. That each body, whether human or equine, stands on a plinth or inside a cabinet, as if posing for the viewer, emphasises their monumentalised objecthood and the tension between what these objects represent and what they actually are.

De Bruyckere began making work around ideas of the human figure in the early 1990s, first through its absence, stacking and draping woollen blankets on furniture, symbolising shelter and vulnerability. Then she added bodies made of wax, almost completely covered in wool; imperfect, sexless and headless.
Berlinde De Bruyckere
K36 (The Black Horse) (and details)


Polyurethane foam, horse hide, wood, iron

Overall size:295 x 286 x 158 cm
Their lack of eyes and sex emphasised the importance of seeing each body as a whole. A few years later she turned to the horse as subject, covering pseudo-anatomical works in familiar materials that inspire both a sense of nightmarish displacement and of visual comfort, of animal suffering and material abstraction.
The horse pieces are eyeless (K36 (The Black Horse), 2003) and sometimes headless too (K21, 2006). The glossiness of their skin underscores all of the things that are covered and hidden, a sensual, almost tender casing for these uncomfortable shapes.
Berlinde De Bruyckere
Marthe (and 1 detail)


Wax, epoxy, metal, wood and glass

280 x 172.5 x 119.5 cm
Marthe (2008) shows a body in duality, disgusting but still half-human, a hand found in its twig-like limbs reminiscent of Ovidian-style transformation; it too, despite its lifelike physicality, is sexless, headless, inert, a re-imagined object. “It is not because you never see a head that it looks like it has been cut off. It is, rather, that I no longer think the presence of a head is necessary. The figure as a whole is a mental state. The presence or absence of a head is irrelevant.”

Other Resources
Additional information about Berlinde de Bruyckere
Modern and Contemporary artists and art - Berlinde de Bruyckere
Since the early nineties, Berlinde de Bruyckere has been working with blankets–woolen blankets that cover and protect–as the material for her sculptures and installations. For De Bruyckere they symbolize not only warmth and shelter, but also vulnerability and fear. Fear that makes people crawl under blankets and vulnerability in situations related to cold, illness, disaster and war.
Berlinde de Bruyckere was born in Ghent, Belgium, in 1964. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in Belgium and Europe, both in museums and in public spaces, including the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art in Tilburg (2000), In Flanders’ Field in Ypres (2000) and the MUHKA in Antwerp (2001). She has been presented at Sonsbeek 9 (Arnheim 2001) and at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). - Peter Buggenhout and Berlinde de Bruyckere at Brakke grond
by Janet Koplos
This two-person show consisted of separate installations by Peter Buggenhout and Berlinde de Bruyckere, a married couple who live in Ghent, Belgium. She is the better known of the two, because her work in two recent outdoor shows in Holland provoked minor controversies - Les corps sacrés de Berlinde de Bruyckere par Marie Deparis
La Fondation de la Maison Rouge, Boulevard de la Bastille à Paris, reçoit jusqu’à l’automne des hôtes étranges et mélancoliques. Les sculptures de l’artiste flamande Berlinde de Bruyckere, sorte de Piétas contemporaines, portent en elles une puissance évocatrice bouleversante. Incarnées, décharnées, mystiques et profanes, humaines trop humaines, elles ne peuvent laisser insensibles. A découvrir, entre curiosité et effroi.
In het Italiaanse paviljoen op de Biënnale van Venetië is een beeld te zien van de Belgische kunstenares Berlinde de Bruyckere - een vrouwenfiguur staat op een klein plankje aan de muur, het gezicht en lichaam bedekkend met haar lange haar. Een paar jaar geleden zag ik het werk van de kunstenares in De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam