This intimate focus presentation centres upon Onschuld kan een hel zijn (1995): an archive folder with sketches, working photos and project proposals written by Berlinde De Bruyckere (Ghent, 1964). This folder was a working tool during the preparation of her Middelheim exhibition of the same name in 1995. Today, the folder prompts us to examine this artist's working process.
The presentation displays this process as a stimulating stream of images, of never-before-seen sketches, reference works and working photos. They represent the broad and coherent basis from which a diverse range of works in Berlinde De Bruyckere's oeuvre came about. The artist guides us, in her own words and images, through her versatile frame of reference. In doing so, she specifically addresses the creation, the interconnectedness and the present-day relevance of two monumental sculptures that you can also see in the museum: at the Braem Pavilion, a work from the 1995 exhibition is being temporarily reinstalled, and in the art park, the visitor can discover the remarkable outdoor sculpture Onschuld kan een hel zijn (1993). This sculpture was recently purchased for the Middelheim collection with support from the Middelheim Promoters.
We can see how, in the artist's mind, everything is meticulously connected to everything else, and how she consistently makes links between the past and the present, recent and earlier works, in a rapidly changing society. The artist is inviting us, in her sculptures and in the preceding process, to draw connections between her and our images, stories and meanings.
The collection pavilion at the Middelheim Museum displays 50 objects and artworks from the collection. In successive focus presentations, the museum zooms in on each one of these. The museum ‘activates’ the collection item by examining it from various perspectives and giving it more context. Each presentation is unique, has its own line of approach and unfurls an aspect of artistic practice.