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Wim Delvoye’s poop and potato gun works to be shown at Museum Tinguely during Art Basel

The Belgian artist’s Spud Gun and Cloaca series to be displayed alongside Swiss sculptor’s kinetic machines

by Anna Sansom  |  8 December 2016
Wim Delvoye’s poop and potato gun works to be shown at Museum Tinguely during Art Basel
Wim Delvoye, Super Cloaca (2007) (Image: Studio Wim Delvoye, Belgique, © Adagp, Paris 2016 / Wim Delvoye)
The Belgian artist Wim Delvoye is bringing weapons and faeces to the Museum Tinguely to Basel next year (14 June-1 January 2018). The exhibition, due to open during Art Basel, will present works from Delvoye’s Cloaca and Spud Gun series, to be shown alongside Jean Tinguely’s kinetic machine sculptures.

The two new Spud Gun (2016) sculptures take their name from children’s toy guns that use potatoes as ammunition. “Each work has this bricolage and boyish aspect and they actually shoot,” Delvoye says. “I see revolutions everywhere, angry people, demonstrations, civil war. My inspiration comes directly from amateur movies posted on YouTube by rebels in Syria and how they are creative with making their own weapons.”

Several Cloaca works—machines that reproduce the digestive cycle from ingestion to defecation—will also be on show. The artist has created ten versions since 2000 and he hopes to bring Cloaca Turbo (2003) to Basel, “because this machine needs a lot of work and it would be an ideal opportunity to solve its stomach problems,” Delvoye says.

The works were directly influenced by the Swiss artist Tinguely, he adds. “I thought: ‘If Tinguely can get away with his work, I probably would be able to do that too.’ We have been educated to see beauty in a rusty, bricolage hand-made machine. But I wanted a machine that looked much more high-tech, more clinical and I wanted to refer to another industrial revolution, happening today, with biotechnology and biogenetics," Delvoye says. 

• Wim Delvoye, organised in cooperation with Mudam in Luxembourg, at Museum Tinguely, Basel, 14 June 2017-1 January 2018

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