Koen Vanmechelen

Koen Vanmechelen


KOEN VANMECHELEN - 'TEMPTATION' from 12 June to 28 August 2022

Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is an internationally renowned Belgian conceptual artist. Bio-cultural diversity is central to his exploratory approach. Vanmechelen has worked with scientists from various disciplines over the past ten years.


Koen Vanmechelen is best known for his 'Cosmopolitan Chicken Project' (CCP), a unique art project that he started in the 1990s. The hen, or more precisely the crossing of breeds from different countries to obtain 'cosmopolitan hens', is at the heart of this worldwide project. The 23rd generation of hens was born in 2019. The project has put Vanmechelen on the international art scene. However, the heart of the project is not the hen or the egg, but the crossing of species and its corollary, diversity.


This same diversity is found in the other animal species, farms, projects and foundations that the artist's work encompasses. Like a modern-day Uomo Universale, Vanmechelen merges art, nature and science, drawing on everything that can help him push back the boundaries of his research. He uses the results of his experiments in all kinds of artistic media - expressive paintings and drawings, photos, performances, sculptures, videos, new 3D techniques, glassware, (living) installations - but also puts them into practice in communities and in science. Installed in the centre of society, between people, these works point the way to a new trend of thought: a renaissance in cosmopolitanism.


Text by the artist on the exhibition "Temptation":

Art has always been a crucial element of any human society. Art encourages people to think socially. It invites them in a specific way to think about things that are still invisible, leading to a new revolution. This is part of the philosophy of Koen Vanmechelen's Cosmopolitan Renaissance. He enters into a dialogue with the old masters. Why them? As Yeats said in his poem Museum of Fine Arts: "On the subject of suffering, they were never wrong, The Ancient Masters: how well they understood its human position, how it unfolds." Suffering and struggle are at the heart of our existence. Hence Cosmopolitan Fossil: a child struggling with a chicken, the hybrid Temptation busts and the azulejo tiled works of the jellyfish and various hybrid figures. They symbolize the explosion, the big bang of a new world in which we have to find a new order to live collectively together. In this new order, we must recognize each other.


On view : 12 June - 28 August 2022