Koen Vanmechelen (Pav 0)

Evolution of a Hybrid – CC®P

Pavilion 0
Signum Foundation Palazzo Donà, Campo San Polo 2177
55th International Art Exhibition
la Biennale di Venezia
1 June – 30 September 2013

This installation consists of a transparent container, lit by breeding lamps, which stores three 3D prints. They illustrate the DNA structures of three chickens. Two are inbreeds, the other one is a cross-breed. Fascinatingly, the latter is different and clearly stands out as an outsider in this group. It has outward peaks all over. The rough points on the chromosomes of the hybrid probably give more immunity. Reaching out, diminishing the distance, longing for the Other is dangerous, brave and ultimately rewarding.

Context: Pavilion 0 is a transnational pavilion of a country which does not exist, of common future, of utopia. On this year’s 55th Venice Biennale a record high number of national pavilions will be presented together with a big number of accompanying art events. This mutual curiosity and the need to learn about the neighbours within Europe has undoubtedly been and still is valuable, however, nowadays it may seem outdated. While searching for a vision of future, art should not be competing with science, statistics, banking or politics. It uses different research tools, reaching for different fields of experience. Its non-verbal, sensual language of communication inspires a totally different field of reflexion. Maybe the mission of art is not to explain anything but to reach the man in a way that releases his or her esteem for their individual existence, in a way that provokes questions regarding world’s integrity on all the different levels of existence.
Therefore, the exhibition organised by Mediations Biennale Foundation in partnership with Signum Foundation (Poznań) will not be a proclamation of any ideology, a futurist vision of what is to come, but a maze of intuitions pertaining to the constantly unravelling future.
We hope that since this year “Pavilion 0” will accompany the Venice Biennale as a regular, transnational art event – a space of dialogue of art and artists with reality, above all divisions. During the exhibition a Lion Award will be bestowed to the artist who exerts global influence. It will be a faithful copy of the lion from Palazzo Donà, manufactured in Murano glass workshop in Venice.


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.
*Koen Vanmechelen also presents two works at the collateral event, Glasstress White Light, White Heat on two other locations during the Biennial (Under my skin - Franchetti | Patience –Murano).

Pavilion 0
Signum Foundation Palazzo Donà, Campo San Polo 2177
55ste Internationale Kunsttentoonstelling – la Biennale di Venezia