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T2-Campus reveals brand new artwork by Koen Vanmechelen

The T2-Campus in Genk's Thor Park unveils an impressive artwork by Koen Vanmechelen. With the unveiling of 'Cosmopolitan Fossil', the campus is taking a new step in its evolution towards a learning environment in which art plays an important role. In this way, T2 aims to further inspire both trainees and visitors, while also bringing in the work of an international artist with strong local roots.

“Cosmopolitan Fossil,” an imposing work that reaches a height of no less than 7 meters, symbolizes the connection between art and tech at T2. “The sculpture embodies the power of creativity within an educational environment,” said T2 campus president Dirk Vanstipelen. “Since our opening in 2018, through the core partnership between SyntraPXL, VDAB and the city of Genk (EducaThor), we have been putting daily effort into encouraging young and old towards technical training and professions. With the addition of this sculpture, we expand our focus from STEM to STEAM, giving very concrete form to the 'A' of 'Art'. Indeed, with its striking size and shape, the artwork promises to encourage our trainees not only to dialogue, but also to think creatively.”


Since the very beginning of his artistry, Koen Vanmechelen has been wrestling with the question of the future of our species: how should man continue? How can we live together sustainably with other species, with respect for the environment? What role can art, science and technology play in this? Fundamentally, his work revolves around the love of life. Life that is under pressure. In the new sculpture in T2 campus, the artist combines various basic ingredients from his artistic universe into new stories. For “Cosmopolitan Fossil,” Vanmechelen based his work on Adriano Cecioni's “Bambino con Gallo” (1886). The original work, part of the permanent collection at the Uffizi in Florence where Vanmechelen exhibited in 2022, shows a child wrestling with a rooster. The artist now replaces the chicken with a hybrid animal, a cross between an iguana and a dragon-like, mythical creature. The bronze sculpture was executed in a deep black hue reminiscent of coal in a former mining site like Thor Park. Thus, Vanmechelen invites viewers to reflect on the link between humanity and the planet: “The sculpture tells a story of strength and struggle, where it is not clear if the child overpowers the animal or if they find a new balance together.It raises the question of whether humans dominate nature or whether harmony is within reach.In that sense, it encourages a dialogue that is essential to our times and fits perfectly within T2 campus, where innovation and creativity thrive.”

In addition to the educational value of the work, Community Builder at T2 campus Anneleen Conjaerts also sees a crowd-pleaser in “Cosmopolitan Fossil.“The choice of Koen Vanmechelen is obviously not accidental. As a world-renowned Genk artist, he promises to attract visitors from the surrounding area and far beyond with this visual eye-catcher in T2. In this way, we put our campus and by extension the entire Thor Park even more in the spotlight. The work of art is therefore accessible to the general public from now on.” 


The unveiling of the artwork is not T2 campus' only step toward STEAM. Indeed, under the banner of EducaThor, 'TECHnature' was developed in collaboration with LABIOMISTA.A unique educational project for young people aged 10 to 14, bringing together practice and philosophy.For example, youth attending this day program use technology to build a sustainable city called TECHville in T2 campus. In LABIOMISTA, they are then challenged to think about the world of today and tomorrow through the language of art. A journey of imagination and discovery towards a new, sustainable future, based on the (mining) past, with art and tech as the main tools. A successful initiative in which schools from all over Flanders participate and various follow-up programs are already being developed around it.

My goal is to arm young people with the tools of our and other cultures, with tools from technology and from art, and encourage them to think and see in a renewed way.From a foundation of love, not fear.Together we can hopefully contribute to shaping a future that is beneficial for all, for all people and species on our planet — Koen Vanmechelen



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