This volume, which has been published to coincide with Flemish artist Berlinde De Bruyckeres participation in the Biennale di Venezia 55th International Art Exhibition, came about following an extraordinary encounter between the artist and the Nobel Price winning author J.M. Coetzee.
De Bruyckere a major figure in the contemporary art scene was struck the fierce beauty in the writings of the acclaimed South African writer. For a number of years, both artist and writer have held each others work in esteem. I have long admired the work of Berlinde De Bruyckere, Coetzee recently wrote in the press: Berlinde De Bruyckere asked Coetzee to curate the Belgian Pavilions exhibition, as Coetzee is the person who has most deeply influenced her work. She sees in Coetzee a kindred spirit and senses in his work the all-devouring need to write about what she also feels in creating her art work.
The current volume is conceived of more as an artists book, than an exhibition catalogue: the reader is offered an unpublished text by J. M. Coetzee a pivotal inspiration for understanding Cripplewood, as well as the correspondence that the two exchanged throughout their collaborative creative process.
The book is also enriched by the participation of the Belgian writer Herman Parret. The latter takes us on a journey to discover Saint Sebastian, the dual incarnation of sensuality and mystical suffering, and Venices quintessential symbol. Parret explores the saints particular significance to Berlinde De Bruyckeres oeuvre. This lavishly illustrated publication produced in collaboration with the photographer Mirjam Devriendt
takes us from the conception to the installation of the works exhibited in the Belgian Pavilion, throwing
open the doors of Berlinde De Bruyckeres compelling universe.