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MAC/CCB

Dates / Schedules

Temporary exhibition Floor 0

October 28, 2023 to March 10, 2024

Exhibition

Exhibition

“One of the 10 best exhibitions of 2023”
– Público and Expresso newspapers

 

Atravessar uma ponte em chamas [Crossing a bridge on fire], the title of Berlinde De Bruyckere’s temporary exhibition opening at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea/CCB, is taken from a short story by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. A powerful image that suggests the risk of passing from one side to another, it is also symbolic of both the appeal and the terror of the other, of transformation and metamorphosis, and of the trauma that follows any process of migration.

Berlinde De Bruyckere has been developing work in the fields of sculpture, drawing, collage, and installation around the great themes of art: death, redemption, sex, pain and memory. Inspired by the intermediary figure of the angel, this exhibition proposes a reflection on the relationship with the other, whether as transcendence, as the physicality of touch, or as personal projection. In the sequence of exhibition rooms, the artist explores these topics in works from different moments in her career, looking at their erotic power and ambiguity.

Anchored in the history of art—particularly Renaissance painting—Berlinde De Bruyckere’s work connects existing archetypes with new narratives, rediscovering themes, obsessions, and recurrences from the world of images that populate our collective memory.

To make this dialogue between historical times a reality, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga has kindly lent Lucas Cranach’s painting Salomé with the head of Saint John the Baptist, 1510, which is juxtaposed with the work Infinitum II, 2017–2019. Continuing this dialogue, the exhibition will also include a site in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga itself, where the work Liggende — Arcangelo I, 2023, will be installed in the room dedicated to Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), a Spanish Baroque painter whose work is a recurring point of reference for the artist. This sculpture, representing a fallen angel (an entity that has passed from transcendence to immanence), presented in the context of a dialogue with the mysticism of Zurbarán’s painting (present in portraits that try to free themselves from earthly mundanity), once again realises the same ambiguous and back-and-forth circuit the exhibition proposes. Another important aspect of the work is its dimensions, which reproduce those of Vasco da Gama’s tomb at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Lisbon.

Each room of the exhibition brings together different imagery, although in all of them—with the exception of the last—the issue of gender duality and the bridge between images of the masculine, the feminine, and the undifferentiated are a constant presence. In the first room, the Arcangeli (the image of the intermediary) are juxtaposed with collages and a wall work of the It almost seemed a lily series, exploring the subjects of desire and sublimation; in the second room, the sculpture Palindroom, 2019, phallic in appearance yet female in nature, is confronted with a set of leather and wax wall sculptures called Met Tere Huid, 2014, a powerful rendition of vulvar forms; and, in the third, three vertical shield-like sculptures entitled Penthesilea (the Amazon queen killed by Achilles) carry wax casts of animal skin, spread open wide and draped as if referring to Piero della Francesca’s painting Madonna del parto, 1460, and once again turning the delicate female sex into an image of power.

All the situations evoked are therefore dual and contradictory, permanently crossing the territories of gender and its imagery. The case of the work Palindroom is particularly significant: a palindrome is a word or text that can be read equally in its normal and reverse orders. The sculpture mimics a model used for breeding horses. Although its configuration evokes a penis, its function is precisely the opposite, that of being penetrated. In a complex way, it is a palindrome between interior and exterior, an object that is almost hermaphroditic in the symbolism it summons.

The last room of the exhibition features the installation ALETHEIA (on-vergeten), 2019, a Greek word meaning unveiling or that which is not hidden. The viewer can wander among the deposited layers of animal skins cast in wax and accumulated on pallets, in an allegory of the countless layers of meanings and possible interpretations that reverberate in the various situations proposed by the exhibition.

 

Parallel program

The exhibition period will also include two performances by Portuguese dancer and actor Romeu Runa, who has collaborated with Berlinde De Bruyckere for many years. The performances Romeu,‘my deer’ and Sybille relate directly to the artist’s work and are the result of their close collaboration.

  • Performance Romeu, ‘my deer’ by Romeu Runa | On November 10th and 11th, 2023, 6pm
  • Performance Sybille by Romeu Runa | On February 2nd and 3rd, 2024, 6pm

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Each room of the exhibition brings together different imagery, although in all of them—with the exception of the last—the issue of gender duality and the bridge between images of the masculine, the feminine, and the undifferentiated are a constant presence: in the first room, the sculptures called Arcangelo (the image of the intermediary), 2022–2023, in the tension they generate, are juxtaposed with drawings of male and female genitalia; in the second room, a sculpture called Palindroom, 2019, apparently phallic, is confronted with a set of wall sculptures called The Wound, 2012, which evoke vulvar forms; and, in the third, vertical sculptures entitled Penthesilea (the Amazon queen killed by Achilles), 2014–2015, which could also be understood as phallic, have skin that opens like wounds or vulvas, and which refer to a painting by Piero della Francesca, Madonna del parto, 1460.

All the situations evoked are therefore dual and contradictory, permanently crossing the territories of gender and its imagery. The case of the work Palindroom is particularly significant: a palindrome is a word or text that can be read equally in its normal and reverse orders. The sculpture mimics a model used for breeding horses. Although its configuration evokes a penis, its function is precisely the opposite, that of being penetrated. In a complex way, it is a palindrome between interior and exterior, an object that is almost hermaphroditic in the symbolism it summons.

The last room of the exhibition features the installation Aletheia, 2019, a Greek word meaning unveiling or that which is not hidden. The viewer can wander among the deposited layers of skins accumulated on pallets, in an allegory of the countless layers of meanings and possible interpretations that reverberate in the various situations proposed by the exhibition.

 

The exhibition period will also include two performances by Portuguese dancer and actor Romeu Runa, who has collaborated with Berlinde de Bruyckere for many years. The performances Romeu “my deer” and Sybille relate directly to the artist’s work and are the result of their close collaboration.

Brochure

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Opening hours

From Tuesday to Sunday | 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (last entry at 6:30 pm)
Closed on Monday
Free admission every Sunday until 2:00 pm for residents in Portugal*

Data sheet

Palindroom, 2019

Alt 195 x 286 x 120 cm

cera, ferro, couro, chumbo, têxtil, epóxi

© studio Berlinde De Bruyckere

Photo: Mirjam Devriendt

Prices and Discounts

Discounts

Discount 50%
Visitors from 7 to 18 years old
Students
Visitors over 65 years old
Visitors with reduced mobility

 

Other discounts
20% — Lisboa Card

 

Free admission

  • Children up to 6 years old
  • Every Sunday until 2 p.m. for residents in Portugal*
  • CCB Card
  • Unemployed
  • ICOM Members
  • Former combatant
  • Widow or widower of former combatant

 

* Residents in Portugal
Upon presentation of a Citizen Card of the Portuguese Republic.
If you do not have a Citizen Card of the Portuguese Republic, you must present an identification document and one of the following residence certificates:
– registration certificate for EU/EEA/Swiss citizen
– certificate of permanent residence for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
– the residence permit for citizens of third countries.

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