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Koen Vanmechelen, ‘Evolution I’, 2018

Koen Vanmechelen is an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist, whose practice ranges across all media from paintings, sculpture and video to large bio-installations, social events and public engagement projects. The extensive exhibition It’s About Time presents 29 works in different media both in the museum building and its surrounding park, including large expressionist paintings and sculptures made of bronze, marble and taxidermic animals.

The exhibition also introduces the Mechelse Maatiaiskana, the 22nd generation of Vanmechelen’s world-famous chicken breeding program, the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project. The resulting art work has been shown in exhibitions all over the world. It has also attracted growing interest amongst scientists. Each successive generation of the CCP has proven to be more resilient, longer living, less susceptible to disease, and less aggressive than the previous one. Lucy, on the other hand, is a Cosmopolitan Pig, a cross breeding of a Hungarian Mangalica and a Finland-born Duroc.

Vanmechelen works at the intersection of art, nature and science. Key concepts of his art include evolution, diversity, domestication, and cross-breeding. A profoundly ethical artist, he is concerned about the state of the Earth and a sustainable future for all species. In his work he seeks both symbolically and concretely to open perspectives into a future where people and other species live in a state of balance. He also underlines the importance of the mobility of people and ideas and sees mental and physical barriers as threats to the development of culture and society.

“An artist is motivated by the desire to change the world, not by the power to possess it,” says Vanmechelen. He sees that the time of silence and contemplation has ended, and people have to act. “We need to start taking diversity seriously. There is no ‘in between’ anymore. We have to break the cage of monoculture, and this breathtaking museum in Mänttä seems to be the right place for that switch.”

The exhibition is curated by Timo Valjakka in cooperation with JSVCProjects/London. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated 144-page book with essays by Rod Mengham and Hanna Johansson and an interview with the artist by Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts. The book is published by Serlachius Museums and Parvs Publishing in two language versions, English and Finnish.

Serlachius Museums
Joenniementie 47
FI-35800 Mänttä | Finland



Koen Vanmechelen, Evolution I, 2018. Indian pigments, egg yolk, feathers CCP, grain, pencil, chalk, paint, 490 x 320 cm. © Koen Vanmechelen. Photo by Kris Vervaeke.

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