Berlinde De Bruyckere

Gent Belgium 1964, lives and works in Gent

Aanéén-genaaid I
plaster, wax, polyurethane, blanket
190 x 55 x 60 cm

During the early 1990s Berlinde de Bruyckere began working with blankets as a material for her sculptures and installations. Wool blankets that cover and protect. But to her they symbolize not only warmth and shelter, but also vulnerability and fear. It is the duality of love and suffering, danger and protection, life and death that is constantly evoked in the work of De Bruyckere. In reference to her 'blanket women' – various female figures whose limbs have a true-to-life appearance, while the rest of the body remains concealed beneath blankets – she says: "The relationship between showing and hiding is one that occurs within a single image. I first produced the image of the 'blanket woman' during the period of genocide in Rwanda, between 1993 and 1994. I show an image of someone who actually doesn't want to be seen. At that point I myself was concerned with the matter of what constitutes the essence of a house. To me, this is a place in which to find refuge, to be alone, to be able to think. Then I saw people fleeing, with only a blanket for protection, for covering. That's how the image came about in my mind." The theme of corporality and vulnerability is also expressed in her drawings. In the series Aanéén-genaaid we see amorphous bodily shapes that seem to have melted together.
Het hart uitgerukt is a series of drawn portraits in which morbid faces stare at us with cavernous eyes.