Between homage and irrelevance. Wim Delvoye at Gary Tatantsian Gallery
Wim Delvoye is widely known as a Belgian neo-conceptual artist who keeps on blurring boundaries between the art of past and present, high culture so-called deluxe editions and commonplace things. Being provocative and witty at once, Wim balances between using high technologies (that he doesn’t create himself, by the way) and skilful hand painting performed in different manners. Well, the Belgian artist wasn’t the first to come up with ready-mades: the idea is believed to belong to Marcel Duchamp while Andy Warhol was gladly taking advantage of using help of other artists introducing his ideas.
However, speaking about conceptualism, the process of art works creation is seldom a point. It’s more about ideas, cultural and historical references and witty tropes. Wim Delvoye is all about that: you could admire his eclectic and thought-provoking works during Documenta IX in Kassel, in Louvre (Paris) or in The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice). Now it’s time for Gary Tatantsian Moscow Gallery to introduce viewers to Delvoye’s multifaceted art.
The exhibition represents the most famous series of the Belgian artist in three halls. It’s Cloaca that stands in the top of the line: a big machine imitating the process of human digestion that welcomes a visitor in the centre of the first hall. This mechanism copies all the features of the high-tech medical appliance: connecting basins seem to contain bacteria, digestive juice and even reproduce excrement and sustain body temperature of 37,2 dg. However, the work is useless and this is the way Delvoye mocks at the capitalist society and modern economic paradigms.
The artist’s Tattooed Pigs are not less known if not to say notoriously known. Wim Delvoye used live pigs as canvases making beautiful patterns including cartoon images and brand logos on their skin. Since this art practice of his was banned by many contemporary art fairs, the artist has continued drawing on stuffed animals. The decoration itself looks as a masterpiece though being put onto the pig skin it looses its value at once.
Spud Gun installation consists of cute toy guns that are not as harmless as they seem — you can shoot with potatoes using the machines in effect. Wim Delvoye says that these works are about necessity of defence in infancy as well as in adulthood. Another example of paradox is the series of Twisted Tyres. Incredibly looking tyres are twirled in the form of a Möbius band and thus are deprived of utility.
If you reach the last exhibition hall, you will see a cherry on the top of the display — unique Maserati sculpture. Wim Delvoye used the frame of a racing car of the 50s decorating it with the traditional Middle East pattern. Through this amazing conjunction of tradition and modernity Belgian artist wants to show his interest in cultures remaining in the process of globalisation.
Wim Delvoye himself describes his art in the following way: “By mimicking the economy, I am also making a parody of the art world.” If you feel like to see those incredible parodies, you are welcome to the exhibition at Gary Tatantsian Gallery till February, 9.