Wim Delvoye

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Wim Delvoye (b. 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. He has an eclectic oeuvre, exposing his interest in a range of themes, from bodily function, to the Catholic Church, and numerous subjects in between.

Though Delvoye started tattooing pig skins taken from slaughterhouses in the United States in 1992, he began to tattoo live pigs in 1997. He ultimately moved the operation to an Art Farm in China in 2004 where restrictions regarding animal welfare were less strict. The pigs have been inked with a diverse array of designs, including the trivial, such as skulls and crosses, to Louis Vuitton designs, to designs dictated by the pig’s anatomy. Delvoye described the process of tattooing a live pig, ‘we sedate it, shave it and apply Vaseline to its skin.’ As another manifestation of contradiction in Delvoye’s art, he owns a pig farm though he is a practicing vegetarian.

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