Wim Delvoye, ‘Bin Laden’, 2002, Phillips

Property Subject to the Artist's Resale Right (see Conditions of Sale for further information)

The present lot is of unusual nature – an image of Bin Laden, largely in dark blue ink, almost resembling a biro, spreads over the skin of the back and legs of a pig. It shocks the viewer on many levels – the pink colouring of the skin together with its fair hairs creates the first impression of a human skin being displayed; another shock comes from the insult of connecting Bin Laden, Christian & Muslim icons, such as Bernini’s Saint Teresa in ecstasy, irreverently entangled with Fatima’s hand, the whole tattooed on the skin of a pork, a forbidden animal in both Muslim and Judaic cultures.

By confronting cultural taboos Delvoye radically diverts the meaning of sacred iconography and questions the notion of devotion: how is faith born? Under which visual mechanisms and associations? What is the line between faith and delirium?

His work also aims to reveal the true nature of The Art World, ironically embracing its codes and exploiting the commodity culture along the process: ‘The plebeian likes me. He takes me for a Robin Hood who takes his side because I reveal what the art world is: a machine that produces shit.’ (Wim Delvoye in conversation with Ward Daenen, De Morgen, 2003). In this piece, quite emblematic of his entire œuvre, Delvoye satirises the contemporary art world in his ever enthusiastic attempt to push the boundaries of art beyond the accepted norm.

Nathalie Obadia, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Wim Delvoye

Contemporary “Neo-Conceptual” artist Wim Delvoye’s practice is defined by an ability to both to shock and intrigue. Delvoye has made x-rays of sexual acts (“Sex Rays”), tattooed live pigs, designed intricate laser-cut steel towers, and carved delicately patterned rubber tires. Despite the technical mastery he demonstrates in many of his sculpted works, Deloyve has famously proclaimed that “all art is useless.” For Cloaca (2000), Delovye created a digestive machine: a complex contraption, installed in a museum gallery space, whose sole purpose was to turn food into feces.

Belgian, b. 1965, Wervik, Belgium