Koen Vanmechelen (Glasstress)

Glasstress – Collateral Event

Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti / Palazzo Cavalli

Campo S. Stefano,
30124 Venice
Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass

Campiello della Pescheria 
30141 Murano, Venice

1 Juni – 24 November 2013

Under my skin - C.C.P.- Franchetti

A splendid coat made from animals lends a regal aura to this installation. Although it is made from a seemingly banal animal - the chicken – it stands out prominently. It is worn by the artist/creator who uses his own creation. The feathers belong to the fifteenth hybrid animal in his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project.
The animal, the Mechelse Silky, is undoubtedly the most beautiful of the Vanmechelen genus. It is an unusual breed of chicken with feathers that resemble fur. The collar of the coat is made from chicken heads in glass, a medusa-like ornament. The heads don’t represent danger but inspiration. All the animals died in a natural way. Construction, not destruction lies at the base of this splendour.
In this installation the coat serves as the creator’s second fur and his totem. Stressing the co-evolution of man and chicken, the cooperation of artist and animal. Who benefits from this? Chicken from man or man from chicken? Under my skin suggests both have their advantage through crossbreeding, co-evolution and the spillover of their mutual energy.
Hybridity is the code word.
Where the head of the artist should be, on top of the hat stand we see a Venetian glass frame. With a hi-tech print on glass of the Mechelse Silky. The artist is the chicken, who is the artist. Both are interchangeable, both wear each other. They live in regal transparency, open to each other and the world. The sceptre from Venetian glass seals their pact. Creator and creation are each other’s totem, always under the other’s skin.

Patience- Murano

The Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass serves as a second location for Glasstress and forms the perfect spot for ‘Patience – C.C.P.’; a construction build up out of 3 cages, protecting and caging, glass and ostrich eggs. What new life can come from this?

Context: Glasstress 
The invited artists are asked to respond to the theme of light and heat, the components of fire, the destructive/creative element linked to the formation of the universe and primal matter from chaos. The energy from the sun’s rays provides the light and heat essential to all life forms and survival on this planet. Light and heat are fundamental to glass making - light is integral to our perception of glass while heat is required to shape it.


The Belgian conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is internationally renowned for his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, a worldwide artistic breeding project. His work, an ode to life, revolves around two major themes: biocultural diversity and identity. His artistic tool is gallus gallus, the chicken, and its egg.
For his projects, the artist collaborates with alpha-and beta scientists from all over the world. The reason why in the spring of 2010 he was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of Hasselt (B). Always on the move, he is forever looking for wormholes between his work and the world.
The Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is an internationally renowned, conceptual artist. His groundbreaking work deals with diversity and identity. Over the past decade Vanmechelen has collaborated with scientists from different disciplines. That earned him an honorary doctorate at the University of Hasselt this year.

Just before the millennium year 2000, Koen Vanmechelen launched his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP), a unique artistic project. Central to his work are the chicken (gallus gallus) and the interbreeding of national chicken species into ‘Cosmopolitan chickens’. He uses this animal as a metaphor for observations around ‘la condition humaine’. In 2010 he presented the latest generation, the ‘Mechelse Silky’, at the World Expo in Shanghai. This year the artist has been selected by the Biennial of Venice, to breed the new crossing with the Egyptian Fayoumi during the 54th Biennial.  Vanmechelen uses a plethora of artistic tools for his work - from painting and video to installations, sculpture and glass -, which includes three projects. These are: the ‘Cosmopolitan Chicken Research Project’ (CC®P), the wooden statue ‘Cosmogolem’ and the fertility project ‘Walking Egg’. In 2011 the supporting foundations will be grouped into a new institute in Hasselt with the preliminary name ‘Open University of Diversity’.
Vanmechelen has presented his work on almost all continents, from the U.S. to China and Iceland to Senegal. In Belgium his work was exhibited in many museums and other loci: the Verbeke Foundation, Watou, Museum M and Z33. Furthermore, he participated in solo and group exhibitions in among others the National Gallery London, Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Museum Kunst Palast (Düsseldorf), Projects Venice (Venice), Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam) and Pushkin Museum (Moscow). His work was also shown at the Biennales of Venice, Moscow, Dakar and Poznan and at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
Vanmechelen lives in Meeuwen-Gruitrode.

Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti / Palazzo Cavalli – Franchetti 
Campo S. Stefano, 2847 
30124 Venice
Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass
Campiello della Pescheria 
30141 Murano, Venice

*Koen Vanmechelen also presents his work Evolution of a Hybrid – CC®P
at the Pavilion 0, Signum Foundation Palazzo Donà Campo San Polo 2177