Friday 18. May 2018
Serlachius Museums presents Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen’s first solo exhibition in the Nordic countries
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 31 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.
The Serlachius Museums are located in the small town of Mänttä in Central Finland. Mänttä, which developed around the paper industry in the late 19th century, has undergone industrial restructuring, but in recent years has risen to become one of Finland’s best known art towns.
The image of the art town is enhanced by the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, which has operated for over 80 years and maintains two museums in Mänttä. The Serlachius Museums are known for their important collection of works from the Finland’s Golden Age of art. Through the art museum’s extension, which opened in summer 2014, the Serlachius Museums have also become a strong player in the field of contemporary art.
Serlachius Museums are open:
10:00–18:00, Monday to Sunday during summer season, 1 June– 31 August.
11:00–18:00 Tuesday to Sunday during winter season, 1 September–31 May.
For further information, please contact:
Timo Valjakka, Curator, +358 (0) 40 548 4450, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susanna Yläjärvi, Information Officer, Serlachius Museums, +358 (0) 50 560 0156, email@example.com
Goele Scoofs, Process Manager, Studio Koen Vanmechelen, 0032 495 666 771, firstname.lastname@example.org
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