Thursday, March 31, 2016

Berlinde de Bruyckere at Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. No Life Lost’, Hauser & Wirth New York, 18th Street, 2016
© Berlinde De Bruyckere 
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth 
Photo: Mirjam Devriendt
(link)

In the American version of horror film The Ring, a famous scene of a horse loose on a ferry jumping overboard to its (oncomoing) death. The scene, which like most recent horror is a series of horror images strung together by a thin plot, is striking for the horse's strong leap into the water jarringly interrupted by misjudging the jump (underscoring the horse's fraught psyche) hitting the side of the boat to tumble end over end into dark water. The scene is reminiscent of Dick Hallorann's anti-climatic demise in The Shining, or the opening shooting at dogs in The Thing, rejecting our expectations of Hollywood cliches (the savior, the majestic horse, killing the innocent dogs) by abruptly severing them as an implicit statement that the rules are off and a new unruled territory (of terror(!)) has been entered. De Bruyckere's horror scenes trade in similar tensions, the powerful horse so magnificent and frail, everyone growing up with stories of horses being shot in fields unmercifully merciful after breaking legs, and after watching in The Ring the innocent horse plowed to bits by the ferry's prop into red water, it acts as a marker underlining that even the innocent can be made to pay, a symbolism not lost on de Bruyckere.