berlinde de bruyckere cripplewood at venice art biennale berlinde de bruyckere cripplewood at venice art biennale
jun 07, 2013

berlinde de bruyckere cripplewood at venice art biennale

berlinde de bruyckere cripplewood at venice art biennale

image © designboom

 

 

 

‘cripplewood’ is a enormous wax installation that accurately reproduces a vast fallen tree trunk, with more wax branches twisted round it and weighted with sand sacks and torn material. an enormous, gnarled and knotted, uprooted elm tree, merging into a mass of trunks and limbs with an almost disturbing resemblance to the muscles, tendons and bones of the human form. the work by artist berlinde de bruyckere is exhibited in a setting that does not actually use any electric light but has been made by covering the belgium pavilion’s large skylight in hessian sacking. the curator, the writer J.M. coetzee (winner of the 2003 nobel prize for literature) describes it as a monstrous, melancholic, poetic work that speaks of death, decay, and dashed dreams. philippe van cauteren, S.M.A.K. (the museum of contemporary art in ghent) artistic director, is co-curator.

 

‘her sculptures explore life and death – death in life, life in death, life before life, death before death – in the most intimate and most disturbing way. they bring illumination, but the illumination is as dark as it is profound.’ j.m. coetzee

 

 

 


berlinde de bruyckere: kreupelhout – cripplewood, 2012 – 2013

wax, epoxy, iron, textile, rope, paint, gypsum, roofing

626 (h) x 1002 x 1686 cm | 368 7/8 x 394 1/2 x 663 3/4 inches

image © mirjam devriendt

 

 

 

 to integrate this contemporary sculpture in venice, a city that has been an epicentre of art and culture for centuries, de bruyckere has incorporated the iconography of saint sebastian into her work. in venice, no other saint has been portrayed more than saint sebastian, who is often shown tied to a tree and shot with arrows. in a city that was repeatedly struck by the plague, saint sebastian – who resisted the divine arrows that, according to tradition, spread the plague – became the most important protector saint.

de bruyckere was particularly fascinated by the mental strength of the saint: ‘it’s his stubbornness, mostly, that attracts me. this young officer in the roman army, tortured to death, as he would not deny his christian faith. the stoical acceptance of his fate, the pride in his posture that remains unaffected. not a glimpse of pain in his expression. the arrows do not seem to harm him, although they are penetrating his body. this tells me something about his mental state; he embodies a combination of beauty and self-contempt, a ‘mystical pain.’

 

 


close-up to kreupelhout – cripplewood

image © designboom

 

 

de bruyckere has found saint sebastian in the shape of her twisted and tied-down tree. there are places where the bark has been removed, where the delicate skin that lies beneath is uncovered. the tree’s branches – its arms and legs – have been removed, leaving behind a bare trunk. the removed branches have left their marks; the injured tree reveals its scars. for the artist, saint sebastian is no longer tied to the tree; he has become the tree. the deep red cloths that support the tree appear as if they are soaked in the blood of saint sebastian, but are also reminiscent of the typical reds in the paintings of old venetian masters, such as bellini, titian and veronese. the immense force that radiates from this enormous trunk personifies saint sebastian’s vigor and strength.

 

 


close-up on wax structure

image © designboom

 

 


visitors in the belgium pavilion

image © designboom

 

 

 

cripplewood, 2012 – 2013

image  © designboom

 

 

 

close-up on wax installation

image © mirjam devriendt

 

 

close-up on wax installation

image © mirjam devriendt

 

 

 

 

artist berlinde de bruyckere

image © mirjam devriendt

 

 

 

  • a moving thought provoking piece

    sandra holt says:
  • what a beautifull and touching work!!!

    myriam glatt says:

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