I saw this piece of Berlinde de Bruyckere’s work last year at the Venice Biennale. My first reaction to this piece shocked even myself. As soon as I walked into the dark room and saw this body-like thing, I instantly screamed. I ran out and felt like I walked into something I wasn’t meant to see. This instant reaction to an artwork surprised me. The tree was like a wounded body with bandages and skin-like features, The lighting made it dramatic but was also quite dim leaving a lot of the shapes made within the tree up to our imagination, as a viewer forming bodies, bones, broken segments of flesh. This piece made me question my own existence as a human being, it made me acknowledge mortality and how fragile we all are. This dead tree has been formed to look like a fragile, injured being with some human aspects to it, trying to heal as their are bandages and cloth protecting parts of it.
I can’t help but feel an emotional connection to this piece, it is so beautiful but also brutal. It is honest and truthful and looking at it made me feel alive, in shock and it just felt like I was facing death in all its forms even though it was made alive by the flesh and veins you could feel the dead tree and almost the pain it was in.
I really want my work to have the response I had to this piece. I want people to be able to relate to my work and acknowledge their own existence through it, to feel a strong emotional response and be struck by their own conscious of what it is to be alive for such a period of time.