Berlinde De Bruyckere’s show was like walking into a cave; mischievous placed lights so that not everything was illuminated. Beautiful taxidermied horses piled on top of each other, with the weight of their useless bodies evident, their carcasses stuffed inside a vitrine. A baby colt twisted on top of a table as if on display as a precious centerpiece. Hanging carcasses from iron beams that smelled of preserves, of wax, insinuating that yes, this is a casting of something that was once alive and is now decaying. An encaustic covered tree almost the size of the 5,000 square foot room it was resting in. No, not resting- dead.
No Life Lost is subtle in its use of material: tricking a viewer into the allure of its guttural nature, with the use of the manipulated corpses.
Works that are full of meaning are hard to look at. Once majestic, dead horses and trees become metaphors for contemporary values: a consumer culture that leaves us wanting something better, scrutinizing ourselves for the way we look and not caring beyond the aesthetic.
De Bruyckere is challenging an audience to consider with what purpose they should live their lives by giving us her unwavering answer; pretty things become pretty empty.