The Re­pre­sen­ta­tion of Bo­dies

Art Press - - SCULPTURE -

The idea of brin­ging to­ge­ther these ar­ticles on Henk Visch and Ber­linde De Bruy­ckere, came from a rea­li­za­tion that sculp­ture to­day is po­si­tio­ned to of­fer a ve­ry new way of re­pre­sen­ting bo­dies. Af­ter our recent ar­ticles on the work of Johan Cre­ten (cf. ap2 31) and Da­vid Alt­me­jd (cf. ap 417), recent ex­hi­bi­tions by Visch at the Fon­da­tion Maeght and De Bruy­ckere at Hau­ser & Wirth in New York see­med like good sub­jects for pur­suing this theme. Ob­vious­ly, pain­ters too are en­ga­ging with this ques­tion of re­pre­sen­ting bo­dies at a time when science is tel­ling us more and more about their wor­kings and the hu­man form is eve­ryw­here on our screens and in our ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment. And, yes, Mar­lene Du­mas, who has the same Ne­ther­lan­dish/ Fle­mish roots as De Bruy­ckere and Visch, as well as the En­glish pain­ters Jen­ny Sa­ville and Glenn Brown, pur­suing the he­ri­tage of Fran­cis Ba­con and Lu­cian Freud, are cer­tain­ly wor­king with the bo­dy, but it seems to us that the main sub­ject of much pic­to­rial prac­tice is the image it­self. It is more concer­ned by its ri­val­ry with other ways of pro­du­cing images, and haun­ted by the func­tions it shares with them (his­to­ri­cal wit­ness, per­so­nal re­ve­la­tion, do­cu­men­ta­ry), than di­rect­ly and de­li­be­ra­te­ly en­ga­ged with the truth of the bo­dy in the way the sculp­tors men­tio­ned here are (and we must bear in mind, of course, that rea­lism has lost its cre­di­bi­li­ty). As Oli­vier Kaep­pe­lin points out with re­gard to Visch, sculp­ture has ma­na­ged to in­te­grate the le­ga­cies of for­mal ex­pe­ri­ments stret­ching from Sur­rea­lism to per­for­mance, to the extent that it is un­der­mi­ning the lan­guage that claims to ap­pro­priate it (in contrast to ma­ny pur­por­ted­ly ex­pe­ri­men­tal contem­po­ra­ry ap­proaches which in fact sub­mit to its ca­nons much more). For her part, Fré­dé­rique Jo­seph-Lo­we­ry, with whom we vi­sit Ber­linde De Bruy­ckere’s exhibition in New York, tells us about the po­wer­ful ef­fect of the ar­tist’s treat­ment of sur­face in her sculp­ture, which is lin­ked in part to her in­ter­est in Zur­barán. That said, these re­pre­sen­ted bo­dies are not “se­duc­tive.” They can up­set us, create unease. Ho­we­ver, it would be a mis­take to de­fine their exag­ge­ra­tions, de­for­ma­tions and hy­bri­di­za­tions, their ba­rer-than-bare nu­di­ty, as ex­pres­sio­nist. Ex­pres­sio­nism contorts the bo­dy in kee­ping with the ar­tist’s sub­jec­tive and of­ten sa­ti­ri­cal gaze, whe­reas the trans­for­ma­tion of bo­dies shown here seems to be pro­du­ced by the pres­sure of an in­ner vi­sion. This is the in­ner vi­sion of a bo­dy that, by its great fan­tas­ti­cal free­dom, is able to me­ta­mor­phose its own contours.

CM

Henk Visch. « In­side Sto­ry » . 2015. (Court. Tim van Laere Gal­le­ry, An­vers) Ci-des­sous / be­low: Ber­linde De Bruy­ckere. « Kreu­pel­hout - Crip­ple­wood, 2012-2013 ». 2013. Cire, époxy, fer, bois, cou­ver­tures, fi­celle. 2,30 x17,90 x 4,10 m. (Ph. M. De­vriendt). Wax, epoxy, iron, wood, blan­kets, rope

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