Wim Delvoye, art should be shocking
Wim Delvoye is a Belgian artist known for his humoristic and sometimes shocking modern work. In his art, Delvoye ridicules daily routines and confronts our society with itself.
Delvoye was born in 1965 in Wervik in West Flanders. His parents were both teachers and were keen to pass on their love of culture to their son. They were certainly successful: music, plastic arts, recital, Delvoye did them all.
Being such a fan of the arts, he signed up for art school at the age of fifteen, before moving on to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. This is when he specialised in painting. Disappointed with the limited range of technical drawing on offer, Delvoye also attended extra evening classes at Sint-Lucas.
Despite being passionate about drawing and painting, the artist still prefers to make more abstract art installations. This is why, towards the end of his training, he began copying quite ordinary tapestries and wallpaper. In doing so, he wished to challenge the boundary between highbrow and lowbrow culture. This was to become the main topic of Delvoye's art.
In 2007, the artist exhibited his work ‘Cloaca’. Once again, his efforts transformed something banal and even vulgar into a work of art. Indeed, ‘Cloaca’ is a machine that eats, digests and excretes, hence its nickname “poo machine”.
Delvoye's most famous project is undoubtedly ‘Art Farm’ (1997). This involved tattooing pigs that had been tranquillised. In Delvoye's opinion, the pig has become an industrial product in our modern society. By turning the animals into a piece of art, they were protected by copyright, and it became forbidden to slaughter them.
These days, Delvoye is well known both in Belgium and abroad. Exhibitions of his work have already been held in places such as Shanghai, Australia and Iran. Delvoye's ironic attitude and provocative art is often quite shocking. However, it also gives us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves and our culture in general.