At the end of 2020, Koen ushered in the new year with the ritual destruction of the artwork Bang Bang. In the legendary ovens of Murano, he first recreated the coronavirus into a star-shaped, transparent work of art. He subsequently destroyed his creation and glued it back together with a golden edge. The virus does not easily surrender. It ceaselessly advanced, trespassed, and regularly burst through the past year. It would not be contained. 2021 continued to be a titanic battle between humans and the virus. It was also an extraordinary challenge to those who create.
On the one hand, the harsh virus reality threatened to be a deadly attack on artistic creativity. Lockdown after lockdown, cancellation after cancellation. That was especially difficult for an artist who frantically links the local to the global by making connections all over the planet. But in addition to the Danse Macabre, the coronavirus also brought about a reverse movement: one of transformation. Mother Nature forced Koen to be even more creative and energetic. She urged him to explore even more uncharted territory. She challenged him to really push the boundaries and sow the seeds of a Cosmopolitan Renaissance. In that sense, the virus was the Big Bang, a comet also announcing the birth of something radically new. The highlights of this battle can be found below.
THE JERUSALEM BIENNALE Jerusalem (IS)
At the Biennial of Jerusalem, Koen presented the 26th crossing of his Cosmopolitan Chicken project in the site-specific installation, Crossquery. The Jersusalem Post chose Koen's work as the highlight of the show.
HERMITAGE STATE MUSEUM
Sint Petersburg (RU)
In September, GLASSTRESS opened in the renowned State Hermitage Museum in Russia. Koen Vanmechelen was art director of the exhibition. Together with curator Dimitri Ozerkov, he selected more than 50 artworks by contemporary artists linked to the Venetian Berengo Studio. In addition, Koen himself presented the new work Evolution of a Hybrid.
LA BIENNALE PARIS
La Biennale is one of the most prestigious art events globally, bringing together the world's leading art collectors in the Grand Palais Éphémère. The 2021 Edition presented a Sculpture Course with Belgian artists, among them was Koen Vanmechelen with the work Custodian.