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We Are All Flesh opens at ACCA

The visceral creations of Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere tap into the human need to experience transformation and transcendence. Hayley Davis reports.

We are all Flesh is an exhibition of De Bruycker’s iconic pieces, including two new commissions created especially for ACCA. The visceral creations of the Belgian artist tap into the human need to experience transformation and transcendence.

Stand in the presence of Berlinde De Bruyckere’s confronting sculptural work, and you may find yourself feeling somewhat responsible for the sight before you. De Bruyckere, the daughter of a butcher, uses wax, skin and hair in the moulding of larger-than-life deformed and faceless horses. The result is an emotionally stirring image, hinting at genetic mutation – a contentious issue that is justified within a body of work aiming to represent loss and change.

Several forthcoming public programs explore De Bruyckere’s work further: Drawing With the Last Breath, June 27, an untutored drawing class set in the gallery among the great hanging beasts, with drawing materials and wine provided; On Flesh, June 20, a discussion between a meat scientist, psychologist, screen studies professor and butcher; The Word Became Flesh, July 11, with Juliana Engberg (Artistic Director, ACCA) and guest speakers in conversation about the fragility of life.

The gigantic equine objects along with the posts to suspend them were transported by sea from Belgium. The posts were made for De Bruyckere for a temporary exhibition ten years ago where they were set into sand dunes.

We are all Flesh can be found at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, through to 29 July 2012.