Following her critically-acclaimed exhibition at De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art in the Netherlands, Berlinde De Bruyckere will present three new sculptures – ‘Actaeon, 2011 – 2012’, ‘Liggende I, 2011 – 2012’ and ‘Liggende II, 2011 – 2012’ – at Hauser & Wirth Zürich from 17 November.
De Bruyckere’s ‘Actaeon, 2011 – 2012’ takes its inspiration from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. The sprawling sculpture summons the fate of the great hunter, Actæon, who was turned into a stag by the Goddess Artemis before swiftly being torn to death by his own hounds.
‘Actaeon, 2011 – 2012’ is a tangle of antlers upon a low wooden plinth. Their sharp angularity is contrasted by the worn cotton cloths, which cradle the work in an attempt to add a sense of comfort and support. Once symbols of strength, power and sexuality, they are now disembodied and vulnerable, assembled in a way that recalls a pile of kindling and firewood waiting to be burned.
‘Liggende I, 2011 – 2012’ and ‘Liggende II, 2011 – 2012’ are two lying figures sculpted from wax. Their translucent skin is marked with the features of a living being, such as veins and wrinkles in the skin; however, they are headless with distorted, emaciated or missing limbs. Branches and antlers grow into and out of the figures in a symbiotic relationship that is both an extension of their incomplete bodies and a parasite, inflicting pain and suffering on their debilitated host.