Installation view of “Marianne Berenhaut: Mine de rien,” with Poupées-poubelles, 1971–80. Photo: Michiel De Cleene, © Marianne Berenhaut

Marianne Berenhaut: To Change Is Human

A chance encounter with two of Marianne Berenhaut’s evocative sculptures—Pour la troisième fois on l’a sorti du tiroir (For the third time it was taken out of the drawer, 2010) and Fleur électrique (Electric flower, 2020)—proved a watershed moment for me. Hushed, melancholic, and surreal, they raised more questions than they answered. It was impossible to decide whether they were meant to be gut-wrenching or hallucinatory. The context provided some clues since both works were included in “Lacrimae Rerum, homage to Gustav Metzger—Part I” (2020) at the Dvir Gallery in Brussels. But next to the directness of Metzger’s Historic Photographs: No. 1: Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, April 19-28 days, 1943 (1995–2020), Berenhaut’s works exuded a cryptic and stimulating aura . . .

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