Major works | Moderation versus Excess
Genetics and art
For about twenty years, the internationally renowned artist Kœn Vanmechelen has developed an innovative project that lies at the nexus between art and science: the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP). He crosses chickens from various countries with the aim of creating a truly cosmopolitan breed. To date, fifteen generations of chickens have been born of that process, which started with a Mechelen hen and a Bresse cockerel. The project has been conducted in conjunction with biologists and geneticists from the University of Hasselt, and it falls within a scientific framework.
Over and above the ethical questions raised by genetic manipulation, Kœn Vanmechelen’s works form a political and philosophical act that positions diversity and multiculturalism as universal, fundamental values.
The sculpture plays on the intertwining of two antagonistic images, the skeleton and the taxidermisation of the chicken, which clearly render the idea of genetic crossing. From that emerges the idea of a new entity that stands out due to its hybrid character.
The work, of which the visual aspect would tend to a reductionist meaning, is, on the contrary, one that contains a profound metaphysical sense, as is often the case with contemporary Flemish artists.