Joëlle Tuerlinckx studied at the ERG - École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels, where she also taught. In 2018, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hasselt's Faculty of Architecture and Art.
Since the late 1980s, Tuerlinckx's work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at DIA Art Foundation, New York (2018), Kunstmuseum Basel/Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2016), Haus der Kunst, Munich, Arnolfini, Bristol and WIELS, Brussels (2012-13), Reina Sofía, Madrid (2009), MAMCO - Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (2007), The Drawing Center, New York (2006), The Power Plant, Toronto (2005), The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2003). She has participated in Skulptur Projekte Münster (2017), Manifesta 10, St. Petersburg (2014), documenta 11, Kassel (2002). Her work can be found in private and public collections such as the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, FNAC Paris, Generali Foundation/Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, MoMA, New York, Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.