What is Kreupelhout-Cripplewood, 2012-2013?
Somewhere will include the construction of an architecturally significant pavilion, placed among remaining mining infrastructure, with Berlinde De Bruyckere’s monumental and visceral sculpture, Kreupelhout-Cripplewood, 2012-2013 as its centerpiece. The work was first presented at the Venice Art Biennale in 2013.
The haunting sculpture depicts a massive fallen tree of iron in a flesh-like encaustic wax veined with red, as if animated by blood. It evokes a giant supine body, wrapped in places with pieces of fabric as though bandaged to protect injuries. The piece will also be on view at Park Avenue Armory in New York in the production of Monteverdi's opera, Maria Vespers, March 21-29, 2020.
The work will be installed in juxtaposition with both the surrounding woodlands and the remaining mining infrastructure, embodying the hope for recovery—the ability of the natural world to rebound from damage, communities to recover their vitality, and individuals to take control of their lives. It speaks to human optimism for the future of renewal and transformation.
Above Photo Credit: Kreupelhout – Cripplewood, 2012-2013Wax, epoxy, iron, leather, coton, blankets, linenH230 x 410x 1790 (cm)Photo: Mirjam Devriendt
"Cripplewood is a way for people to speak to their own experience and it resonates, but that Appalachia should not have any cultural inferiority. Their contributions to culture and art from Appalachia speak for themselves. Art, literature, and the music of Appalachia are “fine” in every sense of the word. We, Appalachia, would accept this piece of art from a standpoint of cultural equality, not as something that is above art of the region."
-Robert Gipe, Author
"I came to a meeting in Whitesburg to learn more about this project. As I watched the film of Cripplewood as the set for Maria’s Vespers, I thought about the religiosity of our region and the deep seeded faith of our people. And something just clicked for me. I saw in the piece the potential for healing and rebirth. It affected me profoundly as a human being. I saw the sculpture as a living being. As human beings we are fragile and we are often broken but we can heal. The piece made me think about the hope of healing. The bandages made me think about bandaging our own wounds and moving forward. The more I think about this piece the more I have a profound reaction to it.”
-Tim Deaton, Appalachian Arts Alliance
"Not far from here on Pine Mountain in Harlan County is Blanton Forest, one of the largest old growth forests. When I look at Cripplewood, I see a fallen tree from that Forest. Some of those trees are more than 150 feet tall and they are the same ones the settlers saw as they came through the Cumberland Gap and moved west in the 1700s. It’s a union of past and present and the idea of Cripplewood represents that union in the power of the Arts & Culture in the rebirth of our economy.”
-Mike Allison, Passionate Advocate for Appalachian Culture and Environment