Wim Delvoye, born 1965, is a Belgian neo-conceptual artist known for his inventive and often shocking projects. Much of his work is focused on the body. He repeatedly links the attractive with the repulsive, creating work that holds within it inherent contradictions- one does not know whether to stare, be seduced, or to look away. Wim Delvoye has an eclectic oeuvre, exposing his interest in a range of themes, from bodily function, to the Catholic Church, and numerous subjects in between. He lives and works in Belgium, but recently moved to China after a court of law judged his pig tattoo art projects illegal. Delvoye is additionally well known for his “gothic” style work. In 2001, Delvoye, with the help of a radiologist, had several of his friends paint themselves with small amounts of barium, and perform explicit sexual acts in medical X-ray clinics. Wim Delvoye then used the X-ray scans to fill gothic window frames instead of classic stained glass.
Delvoye suggests that radiography reduces the body to a machine. When he was not an active participant, Delvoye observed from a computer screen in another room, allowing the subjects enough distance to perform normally, although Delvoye has described the whole operation as “very medical, very antiseptic.” Delvoye also creates oversized laser-cut steel sculptures of objects typically found in construction, customized in seventeenth century Flemish Baroque style. These structures juxtapose “medieval craftsmanship with Gothic filigree.” Delvoye brings together the heavy, brute force of contemporary machinery and the delicate craftsmanship associated with Gothic architecture. www.wimdelvoye.be