“My purpose is to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of different kinds”, wrote Ovid in hisMetamorphoses. It’s a task shared by Berlinde De Bruyckere, who takes in violation and deformity as well as transfiguration and growth – often in the same work.
De Bruyckere first came to international attention in 2000 with a war-themed commission for the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres. The resulting installation of five life-sized casts of horses, their glossy skins animating their contorted pawings and writhings, explored the elisions between man and animal, life and death, that have dominated De Bruyckere’s work since. It also captured the peculiarly immanent quality that has since become the hallmark of her sculptures – the figures are always caught in the moment of becoming, decaying, growing or changing. Never still, never complete.