In Flanders Fields

Berlinde De Bruyckere


Installation, variable dimensions.
Materials: horse skin, polyester, metal, plastic, blankets

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7276_M235).

The installation In Flanders Fields, 2000 by Berlinde De Bruyckere presents a naturalistic picture of a stuffed horse that is forever frozen in an unusual pose within the space of the white cube gallery space. The horse, which in classical culture usually stands for courage, strength, and beauty, in this case is literally turned upside down and becomes an object devoid of its usual qualities.

The title of the artwork, In Flanders Fields, refers to the eponymous poem written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. Later the piece became one of the most cited poems about war and inspired to use of red poppies, mentioned in the poem, as a symbol of remembrance. Even though the poem was written more than 100 years ago, sadly it remains actual and could be easily perceived as a reflection of the manifestations of the injustice of war, that are unfolding right now:


    ‘... We are the dead. Short days ago

    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

       Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

                              In Flanders fields.


                                               — John McCrae, 1915


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