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Helmie Brugman makes moulds from the 'original' form and she subsequently casts copies. On the contrary, she makes use of the deformations that may occur during the process of production. Before the soft and still flexible casting slip has dried completely into a fixed, breakable form, she bends or drops the casts or presses them together.

Helmie Brugman doesn't perform these acts out of aggression, but rather to illustrate how people, as well as images, are subject to forces from outside and how these forces can mark a life. In this way, the actual deformation of the material acquires a deeper meaning. Apart from clay casts, she also makes copies in wax, bronze, plaster or latex. The way Brugman deforms the material depends on the properties of the material.


While working, Helmie Brugman keeps discovering new possibilities. She allows associations to arise from the motif's form or meaning. The process of creation takes place in the same way as life itself. With certain points of departure as a basis, one has to readjust old solutions again and again, and try to find new ways. However, the central concept of Helmie Brugmans work remains her formula for human existence: loving + suffering = living.


The need to nurture and the longing to be nurtured are universal emotions of all times and cultures. Helmie does not set out to provoke or to demonstrate her talent. She wants to show and cherish the essence of life as a spectator who at the same time is part of and identifies with the other person. This she shows in a very concrete manner, close to the materials, creating dramatic changes through very small actions.


Notes to the Installation: The Terracotta David’s.

A little army it is, a small procession of little boys. It refers to the Terracotta Army which was given as a tomb gift 2,200 years ago to the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. They stand still and quiet, all with the same face. Different colors of clay have been used to create them, white, light brown, terracotta and black. They appear to be fragile and are supported by planks, lashing straps, pieces of foam and Styrofoam. Some hands are missing and some arms are bandaged. They all bear the same name: David. Taken from the world famous Michelangelo statue David in Florence.

Helmie Brugman took the liberty to be inspired by Michelangelo but she reduced the Renaissance power to that of genderless little persons. And did this in multiples; children; still innocent, in the ages from 5 years old, from before their fall from paradise. She cherishes the boy, supports him, puts him on a pallet and gives him protection. However, she also let him to be split open, forced down onto his knees. The David’s point towards an association with Plato’s idealisms. You have the ideal form somewhere in a realm, which is where the mal is made from. All the earthly things are no more than an infusion; we people are just weak infusions of the world of the Gods. Precisely in its material concreteness’ the statue moves us and poses existentially questions...but at the same time it questions the idealization and the make ability of our existence.

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