The Black Horse, 2003. Horseskin, PU foam, wood, and iron, 295 x 286 x 158 cm. Photo: courtesy the artist.

Universal Resonances: A Conversation with Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde De Bruyckere does not pull punches. When many artists of her generation more or less loudly proclaim their emotional detachment, she feels compelled to tackle weighty universals such as loneliness, pain, and death. The fact that few other artists explore this terrain as creatively and successfully explains in part her impressive exhibition history. De Bruyckere is, for example, able to extract unexpected pathos from an accumulation of old blankets placed on top of another object. The dramatic effect results from the contrast between hard and soft matter, from the unexpected reserves of associations tied to worn blankets so evidently fraught with history, and from the way in which gravity tugs at the material, reminding us of how we will all inevitably fall.