The sculpture of Berlinde De Bruyckere often explores the boundaries and possibilities of her practise itself, pouring wax, manipulating fabric and covering objects to change their purpose and effect.
The objects on display often refer to the material necessities of human existence – beds, wardrobes, blankets and the things we hang on the wall that define and humanize our space.
In Berlinde De Bruyckere’s work sculpture is an act of repair, it repairs the space, taking it out of its disoccupation and absence into a space of presence and occupancy that is simultaneously haunted by a human existence.
The bed is an example of the presence and absence of man. In this case, the bed is covered by blankets that symbolize intimacy, protection and shelter but also suppression and suffocation. The patterns, discolorations, creases and stains on the blankets came about after they were put outside for months on end to be exposed to the elements, worn out, tattered and moulded. The individual has been erased yet the wax tress take the place of the human body, positioned within and on top of the blankets.
Wax trees evoke independent bodies that transgress the distinction between reality and illusion between the copy and the original. De Bruyckere uses wax that envelopes flakes of dead wood that get stuck in the dark brown wax used while painting the moulds.
The natural is constantly alluded to but never fulfilled; wax fills small glass domes, representing gnarled, wooden stumps and almost human-like bodily positions. There’s no structure or hierarchy, wax logs are bandaged with tattered, worn out rags, they are failing structures.