Berlinde De Bruyckere

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Berlinde De Bruyckere, 2013. Photo: Mirjam Devriendt.

March 4, 2013

Berlinde De Bruyckere
Kreupelhout – Cripplewood
1 June–24 November 2013

Preview: 29–31 May 2013

55th International Art Exhibition –
la Biennale di Venezia
Pavilion of Belgium
Giardini, Venezia

Commissioner: Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister of Environment, Nature and Culture
Curator: J.M. Coetzee, novelist, essayist, literary critic, linguist, translator
Co-curator: Philippe Van Cauteren, artistic director of S.M.A.K., the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent
Organizer: S.M.A.K., the Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent

Joke Schauvliege, the Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Culture, appointed Berlinde De Bruyckere to be the Belgian representative at the 55th Venice Biennale of visual art. The Minister chose Berlinde De Bruyckere because of her profound human commitment as an artist; because she has a consistent oeuvre that is still in the midst of development and has the power to transform her participation in the Biennale into a lasting international career.

Berlinde De Bruyckere (b. 1964, Ghent) draws and creates sculptures in an individual and expressive visual idiom that is highly physical. Such elements as vulnerability, mortality and solitude are threads running through her oeuvre. De Bruyckere uses the bodies of horses, and trees and human and animal bodies cast in wax, which she then shows in a twisted or damaged state. She takes inspiration from literature and film history, but in her sculptural work also displays a great affinity for such old masters as Lucas Cranach and Antonello da Messina.

Berlinde De Bruyckere regularly exhibits her work in major museums and other institutions in Belgium and abroad. There is currently an exhibition of her work at the Kunsthaus and the St Dominikus Kapel in Graz (Austria). In 2012 she had solo exhibitions at Arter in Istanbul, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts (ACCA), Melbourne, and a dialogue exhibition with the work of the deceased artist Philip Vandenberg at Stichting De Pont in Tilburg (The Netherlands). In 2011 she was invited to show work at the Kunstmuseum Bern (Switzerland), the DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art in Montreal, and the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg in Halle (Germany).

For her participation in the Venice Biennale, Berlinde De Bruyckere will be entering into an unusual form of cooperation with the author J.M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who will be the curator of the exhibition. He will not perform the traditional task of an artistic curator, but will act as a source of inspiration and a partner in dialogue. He is also closely involved in compiling the exhibition catalogue. Berlinde De Bruyckere and John Coetzee have admired each other’s work for years. In 2012 they published the book Allen Vlees (All Flesh), which combined her images with his writings. Their collaboration in Venice is a logical extension of this previous successful project.

In addition to J.M. Coetzee, Berlinde De Bruyckere has also asked Philippe Van Cauteren to be co-curator. He has been the artistic director of S.M.A.K., the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, since 2006. Under his directorship the museum has held major monographic exhibitions by Lois Weinberger, Kendell Geers, Paul McCarthy, Mark Manders, Dara Birnbaum, Jorge Macchi, Nedko Solakov, and Joachim Koester, as well as exhibitions in the public space like TRACK. Philippe Van Cauteren is currently working on a retrospective of the work of Berlinde De Bruyckere, which will be shown at the S.M.A.K. in 2014 and at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (The Netherlands).

S.M.A.K., the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent is responsible for organising the Pavilion of Belgium at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.

The official catalogue of the Belgian presentation will be published by Mercatorfonds. It includes contributions by J.M. Coetzee, Philippe Van Cauteren, Herman Parret, professor emeritus at the Higher Institute of Philosophy at Leuven University (Belgium), and Berlinde De Bruyckere.

For further information and pictures:
S.M.A.K., Els Wuyts, T + 32 (0)9 240 76 47 / els.wuyts [​at​]

Berlinde De Bruyckere at the Belgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
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Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
March 4, 2013

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