Sunday, May 22, 2011
Speechless Gray Horse
The horse's eyes are sown shut. Its mouth too. Its body is tightly bound with thin rope. Parts of its legs are missing. This horse lies, dismembered, yet peaceful, almost comforting, yet nightmarish, on the floor in Zürich's Kunsthaus. It is a work of art, "Speechless Gray Horse" (2004) by the Flemish artist Berlinde de Bruyckere. Her pseudo-anatomical works, like this one, evoke thoughts of abuse and suffering. I am reminded of Picasso's Guernica. But Picasso's horse is screaming in silence, while Bruyckere's is almost sleeping.
Our newspapers fills our days with examples of abuse, our television news offer us glimpses of dismemberment, but we can simply switch channels. One moment it is a bomb in Pakistan or the war in Afghanistan, next it is Desperate Housewives. Bruyckere's work is disturbing. There are people who find her "Speechless Gray Horse" disgusting, but have no opinion on NATO's war in Afghanistan; a war fought in their name, financed by their taxes. Now, that is disturbing.