ACCA Berlinde de Bruyckere ReView

 – We Are All Flesh –

Reviewed by Nicky Bryant

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) is often termed the big rusty spaceship, and its contents are often as curious or seemingly ‘alien’ as its exterior.

It sits behind and between a number of major arts related venues in Southbank: the National Gallery of Victoria, the Victorian College of the Arts, the Malthouse Theatre, and the Chunky Move dance company is housed upstairs from the gallery.

ACCA brings to the hub exhibitions that are always free (a good thing for any student to hear) from renowned Australian and international artists. These exhibitions are guaranteed to be current in that they are commissioned especially for the space – ACCA has a limited storage capacity, and therefore no permanent collection to draw on.

Berlinde de BruckyereAt the moment, and until the 29th of July, Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere is exhibiting. Her show, titled We Are All Flesh, engages the viewer by drawing on that part of us that cannot help but look upon the visceral. The show opens with the largest of the exhibition spaces. There hang what appear, at first glance, to be the carcasses of two taxidermic horses.

It is this double take on our part that renders Bruyckere’s work so powerful; there are actually four horses in the room, fused in pairs to form something Bruyckere describes as the “fragile moment when two people become one.”

Thematically this is important; ostensibly a representation of a bodily union, the sculptures are spiritualised by the idea of the exhibition space as a church. The two antechambers that lead off from this main space are termed ‘chapels’.

Religion and pagan mythology inform the way Bruyckere works. In one of the chapels are waxwork antlers, painted in the melting process to resemble intestines (double take). These are displayed as

Berlinde de Bruckyere

artefacts from the Actaeon myth in which a hunter who angers the god Artemis is turned into a stag, and then torn apart by his own hounds.

Regarding this exhibition, the contents of ACCA are certainly curious. If mythology or waxwork or taxidermy is your thing, then it is certainly worth a look.

If free music, wine and bread are also your things, you should go along to ‘The Last Supper’, and check out the show on one of ACCA’s event nights. A talk by the artist is also being hosted for free – there is more info just below.

THE WORD BECAME FLESH (Artist talk)
Wed July 11, 6pm
FREE. Bookings essential.
To book programs@accaonline.org.au or 9697 9999

THE LAST SUPPER (wine/bread/music night)
Wed July 18, 5pm-8pm
FREE. No booking necessary.

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