While her horse in Zurich's Kunsthaus is gray, in the Saatchi Gallery she has two black horses. The first is headless and legless, a piece of beautiful meat, exhibited in a vitrine. The second has all of the beautiful curves of a Henry Moore sculpture, but the soft sheen of the coat lacks the hardness of bronze. The beauty of these horses brings an overwhelming sense of sadness. The fact that they are now naked to our observation gave me the same feeling of unease that I had when viewing the Egyptian Mummies in the British Museum. It does seem obscene to be pleasantly walking about, viewing these magnificent creatures in their deathly silence and stillness.
De Bruyckere's third work, Marthe, is a sculpture in wax of a headless woman, standing in an open vitrine, her uterus gone, her guts poring out, one long arm extended, claw-like to the ground. There is something Ovidian about this transformation. The realism of the execution, with its whites, reds and blues, makes the image all the more horrifying.
It has often been said that art is always about love and death. De Bruyckere's work is certainly about death. The horses, in their silent deathliness, possess a terrible beauty. And the visceral, painful realism of Marthe, is a reminder of the fragilty of life, the presence of suffering.