Berlinde De Bruyckere, No Life Lost, Artipelag, 2024 / Installation view / Photo Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Berlinde De Bruyckere: No Life Lost
Feb 3 – May 26, 2024
Gustavsberg, Sweden

Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere’s large-scale sculptures and installations of wax, wood, textile, metal and horse hide are executed in an unmistakable artistic style. Grappling with the existential human condition, De Bruyckere’s work addresses human vulnerability and fragility, desire and suffering, resilience and transformation. Opening on February 3, the comprehensive exhibition No Life Lost is the first presentation of the work of De Bruyckere in Sweden.

In our crisis-ridden contemporary age when human existence is becoming increasingly precarious, Berlinde De Bruyckere’s sensitive examination of our common existential ground takes on a particular urgency. Characterised by distorted organic forms and bodies, De Bruyckere’s work has an intrusive almost eerie materiality.

Berlinde De Bruyckere was born in 1964 in Ghent, Belgium where she lives and works. During the last 20 years, she has exhibited extensively internationally, including celebrated solo exhibitions at MO.CO in Montpellier, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, Bonnefanten in Maastricht, Sara Hilden Art Museum in Tampere, Leopold Museum in Vienna, Kunsthaus Bregenz, ACCA in Melbourne, e.a. In 2013, she represented Belgium at the 55th Venice Biennale, where she will now return for the 60th edition of the Biennale with an official Collateral Event for the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore.

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Including sculptures, installations and works on paper, No Life Lost spans from 1995 until today. A core theme in the exhibition is the ambiguity of the human condition and the fundamental human search for transformation, transcendence and reconciliation in the face of mortality. With its diversity of materials and extensive time span, No Life Lost is a comprehensive presentation of De Bruyckere’s art practice, which, despite widespread international success, has not yet been shown in Sweden.

Berlinde De Bruyckere’s idiom has a strong historical anchoring. Rooted in the Catholic spiritual tradition, the Flemish Renaissance has exerted a profound influence on her art. resulting in extensive explorations of Christian legends and archaic myths. De Bruyckere layers these existing histories with new narratives suggested by current events. Her work also displays a special relationship to nature, often taking the form of “stigmatised” trees ravaged by the environmental destruction that constitutes one of today’s burning issues. Animals occupy an exceptional position in De Bruyckere’s art, the horse being a recurring motif.