Overlooked by the steeple of St. James’s Church, a deer lies on a stone slab in the otherwise tranquil setting of Southwood Garden. The sculpture, ‘Rodt, 6 Januari, 2012’, is a work by Berlinde De Bruyckere, a Belgian artist known for her frank portrayals of the inherent human qualities of fragility, vulnerability and imperfection. De Bruyckere grapples with these universal themes and translates them using a contemporary sensibility that combines poetic beauty with a brutal realism. Hauser & Wirth is proud to present De Bruyckere’s new sculpture – one of the artist’s first works to be shown publically outdoors – as the next exhibition of Hauser & Wirth Outdoor Sculpture.
De Bruyckere’s ‘Rodt, 6 Januari, 2012’ carefully renders the anatomy of her subject, then distorts and deflates it. The sculpture is cast in a new combination of materials for the artist: a mixture of lead, bronze and tin whose density mirrors the gravitas of the artist’s subject. ‘Rodt, 6 Januari, 2012’ will remain on view until December 2012.
On 4 September, Hauser & Wirth will host a book launch of ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. Romeu my deer’, the third part in De Bruyckere’s trilogy which began in 2006 with ‘Schmerzensmann’, followed in 2008 by ‘In the Woods there were Chainsaws’. This final instalment is published by Skira and features texts by writer Caroline Lamarche.
To celebrate the unveiling of the outdoor sculpture, as well as the release of ‘Romeu my deer’, there will be a special performance by contemporary dancer, Romeu Runa, in the Piccadilly gallery on 4 September. Dance has played a prominent role in De Bruyckere’s work, following a serendipitous encounter with the renowned choreographer, Alain Platel. Platel introduced De Bruyckere to three dancers in his company – one of whom was Runa – and De Bruyckere immediately began capturing the dancers’ athletic physiques and translating them into her contorted figures. In recent years, Runa has been a model and inspiration for De Bruyckere, lending his name to several important sculptures and drawings, as well as the new publication, ‘Romeu my deer’.
During the book launch and dance performance, De Bruyckere’s ‘Actaeon III (London), 2012’ will also be on view for the first time in the American Room of the Piccadilly gallery. This work is a tangle of antlers and branches, painstakingly molded from wax and half-supported and half-smothered by cotton pillows.
Berlinde De Bruyckere was born in Ghent, Belgium in 1964, where she currently lives and works. Since her first exhibition in the mid-eighties, De Bruyckere’s sculptures and drawings have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in major institutions worldwide. These include ‘We are all Flesh’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2012); ‘The Wound’, Arter, Istanbul, Turkey (2012); ‘Mysterium Leib. Berlinde De Bruyckere im Dialog mit Cranach und Pasolini’, which opened at Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle, Germany and travelled to Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2011); DHC / ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2011); Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Switzerland (2010); ‘Schmerzensmann’, Hauser & Wirth London, Piccadilly (2006); and ‘Eén’, De Pont Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands (2005).
De Bruyckere has presented many exhibitions inspired by artists ranging from Baroque painters to filmmakers and poets, including the recent exhibition at De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands, ‘Philippe Vandenberg & Berlinde De Bruyckere. Innocence is precisely: never to avoid the worst’ (2012); and ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere – Luca Giordano. We are all Flesh’, Hauser & Wirth London, Old Bond Street (2009).