Press Release

Strange Fruits brings together the works that Edith Dekyndt created in the course of the development process of her exhibitions at Le Consortium in Dijon (2015) and the Wiels Museum in Brussels (2016). The former exhibition was inscribed in the rural wine region of Burgundy and the latter in the Brussels area with a focus on the history of the Wiels Museum, which is housed in the building of former Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery.

The title of Edith Dekyndt’s latest exhibition, Strange Fruits, refers to Strange Fruit, the song famously interpreted by Billie Holiday. The song itself was based on the poem Bitter Fruit, written by Abel Meeropol in 1937, as a reaction to the lynching of Afro-Americans that were still taking place in the U.S. in the years after the abolition of slavery. This song gained powerful significance in the remembrance of the victims of this horrible practice. A wide range of artists have subsequently interpreted this song, most notably, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Josh White, and Diana Ross.

This meaningful song is highly emotionally loaded, and it never fails to affect anyone who listens to it with an open heart and mind.In Strange Fruits Edith Dekyndt experiments with different organic and inorganic substances, such as blood, wine, earth, silver, wool, velvet, flowers, and hair. The interaction between those various materials, together with the environmental impact that is fed by a biochemical process, provokes a transformation. The artist chooses to capture a precise moment in this process. This snapshot is meant to confront us with our lack of perception, but at the same time it reveals a human emotional factor, the same two aspects that are also present in the Strange Fruit song.

The different interpretations of Strange Fruit will be compiled and disseminated close to the floor, in the stairs of the gallery building.

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves
Blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
The scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather
for the wind to suck
for the sun to rot
for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop