The Mental Museum

Wim Delvoye

with 3 comments

Throughout history, art and literature have always managed to raise controversy. In time however, society always seems to bounce back, numb itself to the shear shock until once again, it’s struck with yet another concept it can’t handle and the cycle repeats itself. In the process though, creative boundaries are expanded and broader paths are paved in new, rather undiscovered artistic territory.

Among so many before him, contemporary Belgian artist Win Delvoye can be granted some credibility for contributing to this expansion of those conceptual boundaries. However, with dealing in unfamiliar territory, comes an aspect of discomfort and discontent with all parties involved.

After a series of extensive constructive projects, Delvoye, in the early 1990’s embarked on new endeavors. With embryonic ideas of banks, savings and collectabiles, Delvoye used his first live pig as a tattooing canvas. With a constantly expanding body, ideas of a morphing images loomed above his tattooing projects. “I didn’t have the concept formulated yet, but I decided to place some small drawings onto these living organisms and let them grow.” (According to Paul Laster, He started out tattooing only a couple pigs in the first few years and later came to simultaneously rent and own two entire pig farms on the Chinese countryside outside of Beijing. In China, one is not inhibited by animal rights laws as they are in the West. Ideally, the end result would be a display of live pigs in the a gallery space, existing and exhibiting the artwork. Other methods of display are taxidermy finished works, flat skinned hides left with bits of head and leg or stretched canvas hides. As not a permanent resident in China, he has employed a small staff living and working on Art Farm, caring for the pigs and executing his concepts.

Wim Delvoye has collaborated with the designs of Walt Disney, Murakami and Louis Vuitton. At this years Art Frieze Fair held in London, a taxidermied Delvoye pig was exhibited bearing a reference to 9-11-01.


Written by thementalmuseum

September 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm

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3 Responses

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  1. Hi there! i~m doing a master in arts inSpain and i~m intested to know about the whole process of this work Win has with the pigs. And most of all i would like to know about the killing process of the pigs. thank you.


    April 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    • I believe ideally, the pigs will be alive in exhibit. If that is the case, then I would assume they live until they die naturally. That is only my assumption. Artists tend to be good hearted people…so I would think Mr. Delvoye would let them live their life and then die naturally.


      April 13, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  2. but then again. artists are some of the most business savey, independent minded people. And what is the natural death of a pig? To be fed slop and slaughtered and eaten by man. Mr. Delvoye has chosen a location where I believe there to be mosques, and perhaps those people don’t eat pork, but its a poor country in need of doctors, so perhaps they do eat what they are given, for a small price I would assume. Chinese workers try to find work where they can, which means they cross boards or they stay in their own country and tattoo pigs.


    April 14, 2009 at 8:14 am

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