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Corsham Festival: Deborah van der Beek
3:52pm Tuesday 24th June 2008 in Leisure
SCULPTOR Deborah van der Beek who lives and works in Lacock, has received many plaudits for her unforgettable Giacometti-like images of women warriors outlaw Ned Kelly, and those horses.
She never fails to thrill with the primitive power and rawness of her work, or catch us unaware because of her innate sensitivity with her subjects.
Yet she is also something of a 21st century eco-warrior which gives her work a relevance, a searing edge when exposing a planet which has been pillaged, desecrated and abused. But you would hardly expect to start this battle with a beautiful bronze pear suggesting all the abundance the world can offer.
Yet look closer and see rotting organic matter, fossils, and everywhere the detailed detritus of a machine age. A world truly gone pear-shaped. A bite, however, exposes the single bright pip. A hope of regeneration?
The contemporary thematic content is seen at its most dramatic in the Fifth Horseman, an apocalyptic figure, half man half beast. The pockmarked surface churns with Big Macs, wartime shells and debris. His spine is a traffic jam, his ribs light bulbs and discarded cans. In his hand is a tiny, vulnerable bird.
The sculptor has a empathy with victims and the counter-cultural icon Ned Kelly has inspired some of her most emotive work. You find yourself drawn again and again to the beauty and pride of his skeletal horse, yet have to smile at his almost comical metal helmet (a tomato puree tin).
What makes this show so compulsive is that it says more than a thousand words could ever do about a crazy, disjointed and prejudiced world. A truly must see exhibition. It runs until July 12.