Just before Christmas I went to see Berlinde de Bruyckere’s work at Hauser and Wirth in London. I love her work and the way she gives dead trees and dead material a life with skin growing from the surfaces of her sculptures. The “Met Tere Huid” series is a group of textural hanging wall sculptures made up of wax,leather, cloth, rope, iron and epoxy resin. This body of work was wall hangings which looked like they were collapsing from the hook on which they were put on, having cavities within the sculptures which were over filled looking like flesh wounds. The pink tones in the wound series were given a darker palette of reddish blacks and browns which was to represent the bodily tones of horses as opposed to human skin.
” Maybe it was the amount of available skins, neatly stacked on iron pallets, or the smell of freshly slaughtered animals, the salt on the ground mingling with blood into a wet slush, I still don’t know, nut I saw powerful images. I was unable to avert my eyes… I knew I had witnessed something I needed to transcribe.” – Berlinde De Bruyckere.
Another series she had there was called “After Cripplewood”. These pieces, larger than the wall hangings are her responding to her piece she installed at the Venice Biennale in 2013 called “Cripplewood”. These pieces are large-scale fallen tree trunks bound with fabric, belts , leather and a pigment covering the surface resembling flesh. Looking like they are broken bones and joints, bandaged going through a slow healing process.