Over 26 works were on display for the first time, including paintings, drawings, sketches, and wood-carved sculptures that reflect on the psychological nature and art historical context of self-portraiture.
Born in France and now residing in Berlin, Bruère’s works have been exhibited around Europe, including at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles, Kunsthaus Zürich, The German Historical Museum, Berlin, and more.
Bruère’s artistic career spans over 20 years, working with sculpture, painting, lithography, and performance art. Bruère’s emotive artworks engage with the masters of European art history, who he studies carefully, and he cites Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt as influences. Bruère frequently visits museums and institutional collections to reinterpret these seminal artists’ works in-situ.
Bruère’s practice contemplates the duality of functioning as both artist and sitter in the genre of self-portraiture. Using watercolours and oil pastels, Bruère invokes an abstract, figurative aesthetic that depicts him with unconventionally enlarged and distorted features, reminiscent of Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso. For Bruère, the human eye cannot observe the totality of what it sees, as it is always moving, and so the process of creating a self-portrait can foster deeper understandings of oneself.
For this exhibition, curated by Simon de Pury, Bruère returned to his archive of over 150 self-portraits. Both early and recent works will be displayed together, demonstrating the evolution of the artist’s practice. Bruère typically begins his works unknowingly and often applies layers of paint during several sessions, using a bold colour palette. Working in this manner, Bruère’s self-portraits are informed by the fluctuations in mood and temperament that he experiences during the creative process, rather than being predetermined.
“I first discovered Guillaume Bruère at The Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles and since then I have closely followed the development of his artistic practice. It was this encounter that led me to curate the artist’s first solo US exhibition at Nahmad Contemporary in New York in 2014. Eight years later, I return to Bruère’s works to explore his engagement with the medium of self-portraiture for the first time. The artist’s powerful depictions of himself encapsulate his tireless study of the Old Masters, as well as an intense pursuit to interrogate his inner psyche through his works." - Simon de Pury
“I am so enthusiastic to work with Simon de Pury once again, some years after our first collaboration at Nahmad Contemporary in New York. Since that successful show, I have had the pleasure to work with several museums to present many aspects of my work, however Simon will be the first present a solo exhibition focussed on my self-portraits. I am thrilled with his selection because it provides a great overview of my self-portraiture work through the lens of Simon’s subjectivity.” - Guillaume Bruère