bern

Jan Vercruysse

Kunsthalle Bern

For this exhibition, Jan Vercruysse installed a self-contained array of works, which emanate both allure and genteel rejection. The overall composition and the meticulously polished refinement of the individual pieces casts a seductive spell; the perfect surfaces simultaneously keep us at arm’s length and leave us to ourselves.

This multivalent game of attraction and repulsion is a concrete theme in one of the artist’s relatively early works, Lucrèce (Lucretia, 1983), which deals with the story of the beautiful Roman matron who, after being raped, took her own life for the sake of her honor. In 26 photographic compositions, some of which are clustered in groups, we find variations on this well-known artistic motif: the woman, the nude, the dagger, the curtain, and the mirror. Vercruysse employs these iconographic elements as rhetorical figures that convey a content separate from their

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