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Materials: Metal, wood,blankets, polyester, polyurethane, wax. 200 cm × 140 cm × 80 cm. Collection M HKA/Collection Flemish Community

Berlinde De Bruyckere introduced the human figure in her work in the early series of drawings dekenvrouwen (1994) (or ‘blanket women’), followed by sculptures such as Spreken (1999). A life-size sculpture depicts two people with lifelike arms and legs. The rest of their body is invisible. She chooses soft materials such as fur or blankets. Blankets provide warmth, but they can also be used to hide and disguise. The duality between protection and suffocation, and safety and distress is encompassed in these sculptures. With these ‘dekenvrouwen’ the artist creates a new archetype: the naked, disenfranchised person who tries to protect herself against the gaze of fellow human beings, and against the forces of nature. They are vulnerable humans who withdraw under the covers, and stop participating for a while. What you don't see doesn't exist. In Spreken, two figures lean towards each other. Their heads rest on each other's shoulders, seeking comfort from each other. It's as if they keep each other from falling over. De Bruyckere says: ‘I am often told that my work is about death, deformity, and destruction, but hope and beauty are also present. And that is what I want to show, essentially.’

40 kunstenaars uit 18 landen brengen 60 kunstwerken op 16 binnen- en buitenlocaties naar Kortrijk. 

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