'Worry Will Vanish'. For the exhibition Pipilotti Rist has transformed the gallery into a fully immersive, sensory environment tha appears as a kaleidoscopic reimagining of reality. 'Met tere huid - Of tender skin' presents new sculptures and drawings by Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruycke.
Worry Will Vanish
Hauser & Wirth is pleased to announce two exhibitions of new video works by Pipilotti Rist, unveiled in parallel presentations across its London and Somerset galleries.
For her London exhibition, ‘Worry Will Vanish’, Rist has transformed the gallery into a fully immersive, sensory environment. Projected against two walls, ‘Worry Will Vanish Horizon’ (2014) is a journey inside the human body, based on a three-dimensional animation. Rist delights in patterns created by manipulating creases of skin, caressing, pushing and pulling to depict the varied textures of human flesh. These corporeal images periodically overlap with close-up fragments from nature as Rist blurs the boundaries between the self and organic structures. She explores the relationship between internal and external, how individuals are linked to the tissues and blood vessels of other organisms, and in so doing, she suggests relationships with the universe at large.
Rist’s video footage appears as a kaleidoscopic reimagining of reality, as glistening spider webs and dew-laced foliage merge with eyeballs and elbows in a barrage of seductive imagery. Rist has collaborated with artist and musician Anders Guggisberg on the sound that accompanies the video so that ‘Worry Will Vanish Horizon’ emerges as a joyous celebration of audio, texture and colour.
‘Worry Will Vanish’ is a participatory experience; gallery visitors are prompted to remove their shoes before entering the main installation, and hence to release some of the social inhibitions that exist in the world outside. Upon initially entering the gallery space, the viewer is confronted with a denim curtain hanging from the ceiling. The curtain extends the length of the south wall, and entices the viewer to explore the area beyond this physical and psychological barrier. By laying plush carpet and duvets on the floor of her installation, Rist invites the viewer to lie down and experience the work from a new perspective, in which the universe appears enlarged. The viewer moving through the image and the projection of their own shadow onto the gallery wall serves to enhance the interaction between the body and its environment.
Rist draws on principles of Autogenic Training to facilitate a process of relaxation, a technique developed in 1932 by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz. Autogenic Training involves a repeated set of visualisations, practised in recommended postures (including lying down), which are intended to alleviate stress. Even the adjuratory tone of the exhibition’s title has a calming effect on the viewer, lulling them into a state where they will be receptive to new ideas.
A second, small-scale video installation, ‘Stone Skyscraper’ (2014) is positioned outside the denim curtain. It is a human-scale structure milled from sandstone with a video projected on the façade.
Berlinde De Bruyckere
Met tere huid / Of tender skin
Hauser & Wirth is pleased to present an exhibition ofre new sculptures and drawings by Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruycke. For ‘Met tere huid / Of tender skin’, De Bruyckere develops recurring themes within her oeuvre, including the monumental ‘Kreupelhout – Cripplewood’ project that she created for the Belgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
De Bruyckere works with a refined visual vocabulary and consistently returns to certain forms or materials, yet with each variation she reinvents her subject anew. The Met tere huid series is a group of textural hanging wall sculptures figured in wax, leather, cloth, rope, iron and epoxy resin, compositionally similar to The Wound, a body of work from 2011 – 2012. In both series, the bulbous sculptures hang slack from iron hooks in a state of collapse, with innards spilling from cavities within the overstuffed abstract forms. However, the pinkish tones of The Wound series have given way to a darker palette of sombre reddish browns and blacks in Met tere huid, referencing the bodily tones of horses as opposed to human skin.
Equine imagery has been consistently employed throughout De Bruyckere’s practice and she has been working with horse skins as an artistic material since 1999. Last year, for the first time, the artist visited a skin trader in Anderlecht. The proximity of the abattoir triggered an immersive sensory experience that initiated the Met tere huid series of the exhibition’s title:
‘Maybe it was the amount of available skins, neatly stacked on iron pallets, or the smell of freshly slaughtered animals, the salt on the ground mingling with blood into a wet slush, I still don’t know, but I saw powerful images. I was unable to avert my eyes… I knew I had witnessed something I needed to transcribe.’
– Berlinde De Bruyckere
The memory of this encounter is given tangible form in the Met tere huid series, where De Bruyckere pairs fragile layers of flesh-like wax with tough or abrasive surfaces. She uses the incompatibility of these materials to evoke the complex dualities of male and female; hard and soft; rough and smooth; violence and peace, and vulnerability and resilience. The sculptures are subtly erotic, harbouring a rawness that both repels and attracts.
‘After Cripplewood I, 2013 – 2014’ (2014), displayed in the second room of the gallery, is a development of ‘Kreupelhout – Cripplewood’ (2012 – 2013). This large-scale encaustic sculpture is an abstraction of fallen tree trunks, bound together with tattered fabric and subtly pigmented using a palette that closely resembles human flesh. The anthropomorphic waxy forms appear as rheumatoid joints and bone, bandaged as if undergoing a prolonged healing process. The work rests on a makeshift trestle that recalls a medical stretcher – a visual reference that De Bruyckere has used in previous work. In contrast to the bare wooden planks forming the trestle, the gnarled and calcified mass of ‘After Cripplewood I, 2013 – 2014’ appears living, though momentarily silenced. Another large-scale sculpture from the same body of work is also on display in the main room.
In their stillness, De Bruyckere’s works quietly confront the connection between mortality and sensuality. A new series of works on paper in pencil, watercolour and collage continues these themes. The abstract drawings are connected to the Met tere huid series and are loosely based on the stacks of flayed skins De Bruyckere encountered at Anderlecht, and on the opera ‘Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons’. In Greek mythology, Penthesilea is a warrior who fights for Troy’s defenders in the Trojan War. She slays many men before being killed by Achilles who becomes enamoured with her upon viewing her corpse. De Bruyckere also presents two other groups of drawings, one relating to her ongoing series of glass domes and another relating to ‘Kreupelhout – Cripplewood’ and the forest.
‘Met tere huid / Of tender skin’ coincides with ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. Sculptures and Drawings 2000 – 2014’ at S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium, curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, on view until 15 February 2015. In 2015, De Bruyckere will also present solo exhibitions at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands, Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria.
De Bruyckere’s first monograph has recently been published by Mercatorfonds, Belgium and Hirmer, Germany, and includes texts by Emmanuel Alloa, Gary Carrion-Murayari, J. M. Coetzee, Angela Mengoni, Caroline Lamarche and Philippe Van Cauteren.
Image: Pipilotti Rist , Worry Will Vanish Horizon (video still), 2014, Video audio installation
Amelia Redgrift, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: Wednesday 26 November, 6 – 8 pm
Hauser & Wirth
23 Savile Row
Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm
Closed 24 December 2014 – 5 January 2015