Interview with Lucia Bru | From the Mundane World: Launch Exhibition of He Art Museum

2020.10.01 -2021.02.28

(From top to bottom)

Untitled, Lucia Bru, Porcelain and sandstone, Variable dimensions, 19 elements, 2017

(cubes), Lucia Bru, 420 elements of faience, 27 × 31.50 × 45 cm, 2015

Aérocubes, Lucia Bru, Paper, porcelain, cement, concrete, granite, 193 × 157 × 17.5 cm, 2015


Lucia Bru’s work bears the traces of time, meticulously spent with the art works. She spends it in continuous experimentation, developing a form and returning to it, patiently, allowing it to take its place, giving it its due scale, its colour, its matte-ness or brilliance. She takes care of every detail, without haste or agitation, following its evolution through its successive stages. Nothing is left to chance; at the same time, she never banishes the effects that chance introduces.
With successive touches, accumulating tiny gestures and gentle displacements, the artist constructs and unfolds ensembles. Neither series nor unique pieces, they instead make up communities of which every element is different, yet participates as a member of that same group, with a common DNA… This familiarity is also imbued in the materials and the geometry of the pieces. She claims an emphatic simplicity, where the proximity of the real stands in service of the stubbornness of an aesthetic practice.
The recurring presence of the cube, the triangle, the prism, the grid, and a number of other figures — signs of an apparent geometry — refer back to the plain measurement of the space. Lucia Bru borrows the places in which she works, without constraining them by plying them to her arrangements. She uses them, for a given time, to unleash the unprecedented qualities of the expression of ‘things’ in which it simply remains for us to participate.

Lucia Bru
Courtesy of the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery

The appearance of each element seems to be different, while in fact they inherit similar “genes”. What kind of message are you trying to deliver in this work? Art they somehow related with human beings?

I have always made my sculptures in series. I like to talk about "open" series, as this gives possibilities for development. I call them families of objects, groups or communities of shapes. The same, yet always different aspects keep coming back. The cohabitation of heterogeneous formal elements interests me. Giving attention to each element of a community of shapes or to a multitude is a focal point for me. The titles of the sculptures that I will present at the Axel Vervoordt gallery in Hong-Kong from 14.11.20 to 19.01.21 attest to this, as they designate families of objects: (both), (mass), (309672 cm3), (cubes), ... Individuals, couples, trios, groups, heaps, masses, are all possibilities of a universe to be composed, of counting the presence, of existences to affirm.

Installation view © HEM

Can you elaborate the process how you create the work?

At the start, there is experimentation, periods of research and observation. These moments are very important for discovering new possibilities, defining fields to explore, choosing means. 

I love when materials and shapes react, speak and are. The object, the thing, the sculpture is for me like a being in space with whom I build relationships, encounters. They allow me to experience different places. Porcelain, paper, cement, iron, crystal, ... these materials are all actors in bringing together energies and relationships in space, embodying communities of forms. I like to bring together these materials, creating unexpected encounters where the strongest is not always what you would expect.

Installation view © HEM

How do you explore the topics of “time” and “space” in your work?

Time and duration are important in my research. I like to give the new sculptures some time to "rest" in my studio, to enlarge the families of objects, to wait, to then later establish connections and bring together elements of different natures. These are all surprises which I find over time by being with the objects that lie in my studio.

I like to make my sculptures and drawings appear in places, sliding them gently without constraining and without transforming the places themselves. This way the works align with the places, revealing the space. I cross space and space crosses me. The objects are dropped, curled, and gently "land" within the space.

The floor is a portion of space that interests me particularly, because it is the common ground where we live together: the sculptures, as well as our bodies. The sculptures in that sense, are beings. I see the ground as a support for all the energies of beings.

Installation view © HEM

What about the elements of vulnerability and energy? They seem to be contradicting with each other but again, they appear at the same time in your work. Is this a part of your story telling?

The deformation and the imperfection is caused by the movement of my body, which creates in relation to the material. The same yet always different keeps coming back. The geometry of the initial objects becomes jostled, disturbed by the gesture. Imperfection is necessary. I have always been sensitive to gestures, and to make sculptures is also to invent successions of gestures. It is the trace of the vagaries of the body related to breathing, mood, speed, space, movements, ...

How do you choose the materials to make your work? Do you think it is important to find the perfect media as a completion of your artwork?

I have a variety of means, and these means are simple. I always want to keep a physical and direct relationship with the development of my sculptures. I like to discover new materials and new techniques to develop my possibilities. I think that the choice of my materials is linked to the gestures that I determine.

The last sculptures will always orient the ones that follow. One shape will sort of make the next one appear. I like to "travel" and create without knowing where exactly I'm going. 
I don't focus on a result to be achieved, but I rather build a relationship with a form and a material where energy is central.

Courtesy of the artist and Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Installation view © HEM

About Lucia Bru

Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1970, Lucia Bru currently lives and works in Brussels, where she teaches at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Saint-Gilles, Atelier de Sculpture. She studied at La Cambre Art College E.N.S.A.V. in Brussels, where three disciplines appealed to her: painting, drawing, and sculpture. She chose sculpture, bringing together the complex issues of space. However, drawing remains an important medium for her. Even then, she thinks in a sculptural way.

In 2017, she had a residency at the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, under the patronage of Ann Veronica Janssens. Bru has had several solo exhibitions in Belgium and France, and participated in group exhibition in, amongst others, Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, MACBA in Barcelona, Art Museum of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Le Forum (Ginza Maison Hermès) in Tokyo and Palais de Tokyo in Paris.


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