press release

Opening: Friday, 15 February 2008, 6 p.m. Opening speech by: Dieter Roelstraete, curator of MuHKA, Antwerp

Whether you love it or hate it, you will have an opinion: Wim Delvoye, enfant terrible of the contemporary scene, makes art that will not go unnoticed. These provocative works, which make emphatic use of antagonisms, flout conventions and dogmas. His raw honesty and grotesque humour will make you laugh and wonder at the same time.

It is impossible not to notice a kinship with earlier Belgian art. His works resonate with Ensor’s scatological/obscene humour, Magritte’s austere absurdism, Broodthaers’ interest in the unspoken rules of the world of art. Delvoye’s art is a celebration of paradox, based as it is on the Belgian surrealist tradition, the practice of conjoining two different elements/ideas in the same work. The gas cylinders painted in the style of Delft porcelain; the teak wood concrete mixer with baroque ornamentation; painted glass windows with sex scenes; excavators in the style of gothic cathedrals: they all reference, in their peculiar manner, the history of art.

His creative methods extend from the simple drawing to real tattoos, from stuffed animals to bronze casts, from installation to live pigs, from lipstick marks to X-ray photos. If his works are often heavy, massive, they are always vibrant with playful ideas and an ironic overtone.

Beside the pigs tattooed with elaborately detailed Harley-Davidson and Walt Disney motifs, his probably best-known work is Cloaca (2000-2007), which he has prepared in eight versions. The large installation is a complex device that models human digestion. It has a mouth, a stomach, a duodenum and a pancreas, containers with enzymes, and a belt conveyor, which produces, when regularly fed, the end result, i.e. excrement.

Born in 1965, Wim Delvoye lives and works in Gent. He earned international recognition with such high-profile exhibitions as the Venice Biennale in 1990 and 1999, and the Documenta 9 in 1992. Presented in Ernst Museum, the exhibition offers an overview of the Flemish artist’s work to date, where beside the tattooed pigs and the Gothic concrete mixer truck, an original, working Cloaca is expected to invite considerable media attention.

The exhibition was initiated by art historian Barnabás Bencsik. Curator: Kati Simon, Mucsarnok / Kunsthalle, Budapest

only in german

Wim Delvoye
Kurator: Kati Simon
Ernst Muzeum / Dorottya Gallery, Budapest