Working in such varied mediums as sculpture, drawing, live tattooed animals, stained-glass windows, and X-ray photographs, Wim Delvoye mischievously brings together the extremes of high-brow and low-brow culture.
Delvoye began an extensive project in which he exhibited live pigs and dried skins of pigs, both covered in tattoos drawn from the domain of bikers and punk rockers: skulls, daggers, snakes, hearts, and Harley Davidson logos. Later, he extended this medium by exhibiting stuffed pigs and by expanding his tattoo vernacular to include Louis Vuitton patterns and images of Disney princesses.
Delvoye's pigs created a lot of controversy, he tattooed a number of piglets and watched them grow physically in size and value. The works of art could be bought live or stuffed once the pig had died of natural causes. This practice was seen as very cruel by many across the world, Delvoye countered this argument by pointing out that the animals enjoyed better food and living conditions than millions across the globe who were living in poverty.
As an animal lover, and someone with tattoos, I am acutely aware of the sensations and pain that an animal was made to go through in the name of art.
Though I think the works are striking and interesting, I am not sure of the need to have tattooed the animals whilst they were alive. I also question the message that the artist was trying to convey, limiting the scope to recreating famous brand logos or Disney figures doesn't add to the narrative, it almost implies that the artist had nothing of note or original to say. Sometimes, art can central and appal at the same time, I think Delvoye achieves that in this series of works.