The exhibition project Middle Gate II – The Story of Dymphna is a collaboration between M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) and the cultural centre de Werft in Geel. Middle Gate II is the follow up to the exhibition Middle Gate, curated by Jan Hoet in Geel in 2013. The exhibition concept is closely tied to the legend of the holy Dymphna, saint of the possessed, the mentally ill and patroness against epilepsy and insanity. The legend of Dymphna shares a strong connection to the identity of Geel, "the charitable city".

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Berlindedebruyckere
°1964
Lives in Ghent, BE
Born in Ghent, BE

Berlinde De Bruyckere (°1964) makes three-dimensional sculptures, installations and aquarelles. Her older work has a minimalist character. Steel, stone and glass were her materials of choice. Gradually she leaves abstract motifs to seek recourse in recognisable forms and things, introducing the blanket, malleable lead and straw as materials.

More recently, she has extended her personal iconography with striking sculptures of (stuffed) horses and giant (once-) cuddly animals. The beauty of the materials she uses always has something of the fatal in it. The blankets in her sculptures protect and suffocate, the lead roses seduce and poison, the carpet of begonias bear witness to bloom and decay. She intentionally uses familiar forms to inspire thinking in viewers, to provide them with memories. Her preference lies with materials and forms that mirror ambiguity, something characteristic of the human experience. Beneath the delicate and sometimes deceptively endearing skin of her work is a yawning abyss. Death, fear and loneliness are recurrent themes, though never disconnected from life, love and beauty. Despite the great formal diversity of her works, there is a common thread running throughout her oeuvre in terms of choice of materials, techniques and the repeating of symbols and motifs.

Aside from her three-dimensional works, the artist has also always put her ideas on paper. These works (drawings and aquarelles, or aquarelle and gouache combined on old paper or cardboard) are often preparatory material for the sculptures but are autonomous works in themselves. Berlinde De Bruyckere does not impose ‘the’ interpretation of her works. She consciously leaves the door open for diverse understandings.