Overlooked by the steeple of St. James’s Church, a deer lies on a stone slab, supported by a wooden pedestal 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. De Bruyckere’s new sculpture, one of the artist’s first works will be publically displayed 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.
To celebrate the unveiling of the outdoor sculpture, as well as the release of 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, there will be a special performance by contemporary dancer, Romeu Runa. Dance has played a prominent role in De Bruyckere’s work, capturing Runa’s athletic physiques and translating them into her contorted figures. During the book launch and dance performance, De Bruyckere’s Actaeon III (London), 2012 will also be on view for the first time. 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, 5th September until December, Hauser & Wirth Outdoor Sculpture, Southwood Garden, St James’ Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. www.hauserwirth.com
1. Romeu my deer, 2011, © Berlinde de Bruyckere. Courtesy the artist and Hauser and Wirth. Photo: Mirjam Devriendt
2. Portrait of Romeu Runa. Photo: Nele De Roo
3. Actaeon 2011 – 2012, 2012, © Berlinde de Bruyckere. Courtesy the artist and Hauser and Wirth. Photo: Mirjam Devriendt