Koen Vanmechelen

May 4 – June 29, 2013

Koen Vanmechelen_Red Jungle Fowl_Leaving Paradise

Leaving Paradise
2013, installation (Red Jungle Fowl, plants, wood, wire, wood chips, water, food). Please contact gallery for more information.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Red Jungle Fowl_Leaving Paradise

Red Jungle Fowl
2013, lambda print on plexiglas, diptych, 24 x 24 inches (each), ed: 5.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Symbiosis C.C.P_Leaving Paradise

Symbiosis C.C.P
2011, selective lasersintering (polyamide), wood, stainless steel, 19.75 x 10 x 10 inches, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_In Digest - C.C.P._Leaving Paradise

In Digest - C.C.P. (video still)
2012, single channel video, run time: 3:00, ed: 18.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Natural Knowledge_Leaving Paradise

Natural Knowledge
2013, encyclopedia of human rights, chicken feet (Red Jungle Fowl), wood, 19.75 x 12 x 8 inches, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Carried By Generations_Leaving Paradise

Carried By Generations
2011, chicken feet, glass, 6 x 18 x 10.75 inches, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Under Pressure - C.C.P._Leaving Paradise

Under Pressure - C.C.P. (detail)
2013, glass, stainless steel, test tubes, feathers, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (C.C.P.) 1999-2013_Leaving Paradise

Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (C.C.P.), 1999-2013
Pedigree installation. Please contact gallery for more information.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Mechelse Koekoek x Poulet de Bresse_Leaving Paradise

Mechelse Koekoek x Poulet de Bresse
2013, lambda print on plexiglas, diptych, 12 x 12 inches (each).

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Mechelse Senegal x Styrian_Leaving Paradise

Mechelse Senegal x Styrian
2013, lambda print on plexiglas, diptych, 12 x 12 inches (each).

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Ringed_Leaving Paradise

2012, stainless steel ring with engraving, 2.25 x 8 x .75 inches, ed: 35 - each unique.


Leaving Paradise
2013, taxidermied Red Jungle Fowl (chick), wood, 8 x 8 x 8 inches, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Mechelse Silky 14th Generation - C.C.P._Leaving Paradise

Mechelse Silky 14th Generation - C.C.P.
2011, taxidermied chicken, 15.5 x 10 x 12 inches, unique.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_Mechelse Orloff X Silky_Leaving Paradise

Mechelse Orloff X Silky
2013, lambda print on plexiglas, diptych, 12 x 12 inches (each), ed: 5.

KOEN VANMECHELEN_In Transit - C.C.P._Leaving Paradise

In Transit - C.C.P. (video still)
1999, single channel video, run time: 1:46, ed: 18.

KOEN VANMECHELEN: Leaving Paradise May 4 - June 29, 2013

> artist talk. Saturday, May 4th: 5pm
> opening night reception. Saturday, May 4th: 6-8pm

CONNERSMITH. is pleased to announce Koen Vanmechelen’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Leaving Paradise marks the U.S. debut of major works recently created by the internationally renowned Belgian artist, featuring live chickens, sculpture, photography, installation, and video, including Hybridity in Art and Science – C.C.P., the multi media archive module presented at the Worldly House, dOCUMENTA (13).

Vanmechelen’s art provocatively reveals how synergies between culture and science shape identity. Biocultural diversity, the realist force that drives his work, emanates from the inextricable intertwining of human life with the life of all other creatures. In Vanmechelen’s oeuvre, biocultural diversity is embodied by a species that has co-evolved in symbiotic life with humans for several millennia: the domesticated chicken. Vanmechelen explains, “I see the chicken as a metaphor for man, and the egg both as a metaphor for the world and as the laboratory of the future. The egg is a protected environment and a source of life. Yet it is also a cage, a restriction from which we have to break free.” The concept of freedom through biocultural diversity inspired Vanmechelen’s critically acclaimed Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (C.C.P.), a global program to crossbreed all of the pure regional breeds of chicken in the world, which he began in 1998. The artist’s ongoing creation of a world-hybrid chicken reached its seventeenth generation in April 2013. To date, the hybrid consists of regional breeds of chickens in Belgium, France, England, U.S.A., Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Thailand, Brasil, Turkey, Cuba, Italy, Russia, China, Egypt, Senegal and Slovenia.

The alpha and the omega of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project is the Red Jungle Fowl. This species, native to tropical forests in Asia, is the original chicken whence all breeds descended. Befittingly, the centerpiece of Vanmechelen’s “Leaving Paradise” exhibition is a live pair of male and female Red Jungle Fowls, who represent both the starting point and future of Vanmechelen’s global project. Over the ages, as the varied progeny of the Red Jungle Fowl were transformed by their human co-species in far away regions, the proto-chicken remained genetically unaltered in its native home. Protected but imprisoned by its metaphorical paradise, the Red Jungle Fowl is now on the brink of extinction with its habitat increasingly facing environmental threats. Meanwhile, its domesticated descendants are becoming increasingly infertile from inbreeding. “Leaving Paradise” expresses Vanmechelen’s vision of blending these domestic breeds back to a new starting point, not to reconstitute the proto-chicken of the past, but rather to set forth a perpetual evolution of diversification and recombination. In doing so, the exhibition raises existential questions of individual identity and life, and invites discussions on contemporary issues including globalization, domestication, genetic modification, fertility, cloning and diversity.



Vanmechelen will speak on this body of work, Saturday, May 4th @ 5pm.

There will be an opening night reception at CONNERSMITH. on Saturday, May 4th from 6 to 8pm.

Artist in attendance.

For further information or images, please contact the gallery @ 202-588-8750 / info@connersmith.us.com.