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Baldur Burwitz, Fabian Chiquet, Wim Delvoye, Andreas Egli, Manon,
Fabian Gutscher & Frantiček Klossner, Victorine Müller, Ferhat Özgür,
Antal Thoma

zone contemporaine olivier fahrni
WILD AT HEART 02/11/12 – 29/12/12

Vernissage & Tattoo Tim: 2. November / 18-21 Uhr
Performance: Bernhard Schneider / 19 Uhr

Zur Eröffnung der neuen Kunsthalle ZONE CONTEMPORAINE in Niederwangen bei Bern, präsentiert der Initiant Olivier Fahrni in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Künstler und Co-Kurator Frantiček Klossner eine emotionsgeladene und sinnliche Ausstellung mit internationaler zeitgenössischer Kunst. WILD AT HEART versammelt äusserst polarisierende Werke von insgesamt neun Künstlerinnen und Künstlern. Werke von renommierten Stars treten in einen spannenden Dialog mit Werken junger aufstrebender Talente der Schweizer Kunstszene.

Manon – Einst war sie Miss Rimini

zone contemporaine olivier fahrni
freiburgstrasse 580
3172 niederwangen-bern
+41(0)31 981 32 26



Libération – Le Temps


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PARIS – At every exhibit opening, he takes off his shirt, sits on a pedestal, his back to the public, waiting for a visitor he will never see and doesn’t want to hear. Turning on his MP3 player in order to block out cruel comments and hurtful jokes is part of the ritual.
Tim Steiner is regularly on display in galleries and museums. He has never broken down in public, but a storm is brewing somewhere inside him.
Six years ago, Wim Delvoye, an unconventional Belgian artist known for his singular ideas, decided to tattoo Steiner. He transformed Steiner’s back into a piece of art and signed it, just over the young man’s right buttock.
When it was sold for 150,000 euros, split between the gallery, the artist and the model, the work of art suddenly made headlines. Its title, “Tim, 2006,” implies that Steiner is the art, not just a canvass.
Since then, the now 36-year-old Swiss man lives in a surreal idleness. He spends his time between Zurich where he works as a babysitter and London’s upscale neighborhoods, where his fiancée works for the famous gallery Haunch of Venison.
The first time Steiner and Delvoye met, the artist showed him the tattooed pigskin that he would use as a model. Delvoye wanted to draw something that meant nothing to Steiner, as opposed to a traditional tattoo, which usually has a personal meaning for the person wearing it.
He chose a Madonna with a Mexican skull, bats, swallows and a bed of red and blue roses. The two men agreed on a couple of changes, including dropping the picture of a monkey opening his behind. “Right on my neck! I said no,” laughs Steiner.
In 2008, a gallery in Zurich sold the piece to a young art collector from Hamburg, a German, like Ilse Koch, the wife of a Nazi officer who collected the tattooed skin of Jewish prisoners. “People made the link. It was bound to happen, although we had not thought of it beforehand,” says Delvoye.
Steiner is a proud exhibitionist with a strong tendency towards submission. “I am a Wim Delvoye,” he often says. But his fiancée reminds him that he is just the canvas. Steiner admits that he often feels the weight of the tattoo but also of the artist, whose personality dominates him. “He is a genius. I love him and I hate him at the same time,” says the model.
Steiner does have some regrets. “In six years, I’ve only seen Wim alone for 30 minutes.” He wishes the artist were more present in his life, telling him that he is proud of him, that he is doing a good job. But Delvoye is very clear about their relationship: “We became friends but I had to explain that he was 2006 work and that it’s 2012 now, and therefore I’m in another period of my work.” Talk about cynicism. Wim Delvoye is a hyperactive man, always very busy. He does worry, though, that his creation might feel used and manipulated.
“People aren’t interested in me and that’s completely normal,” says Steiner. “I knew this from the start. I am not an artist; I am the guy with the tattoo. But I am part of the art world now.”
Before entering this world, which led him all the way to the Louvre, Steiner worked at a gas station. The best time of his life, he says. He spent 15 years, smoking pot and filling the tanks of rich Zurich residents. He had a very comfortable childhood. His father was a businessman, his mother stayed at home. After turbulent teenage years, two years in the Swiss army gave this masochist the order and discipline he needed.

Selling one’s body

This odd transaction could not have happened in France, but oddly in Switzerland it was made possible thanks to the country’s prostitution laws. Steiner is now on display several times a year, but no one can force him to do anything against his will. When he dies, his skin will be cut up and framed. His family had to agree to it. Steiner says he doesn’t care what happens after he dies.
Delvoye wanted his piece to be a criticism of the art world. The critics, on the other hand saw it as an attack on human dignity. “Are you allowed to do anything in the name of art?” asks the Belgian artist. “You can speculate on Tim, sell him, and resell him. Even the way he will die is subject to speculation! If he dies of cancer, it’s ok. If he dies alone in a house, it’s more of a problem. It will have consequences on the price because the tattoo will be damaged. But of course we don’t want anything to happen to him because we like him a lot.”
Steiner is a healthy young man whose life changed when he arrived in Tasmania, Australia, in 2011, for an exhibit at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). There, he posed for the first time for a long period, four months. Every day he spent hours on his pedestal. “When I would get home at night, I would collapse. I told myself, ‘You’re a monkey!’ but then I realized I was actually good at sitting on a pedestal.”
This sounds a lot like it came from Kubark, the CIA interrogation manual: a prisoner forced to sit in an uncomfortable position until he breaks, with all the self-inflicted pain that comes from such a position, the moral determination to stay silent, the feeling of superiority that the prisoner feels at first, and then the internal conflict that leads to the final breakdown.
Obviously, the Tasmanian museum’s intentions were not to torture Steiner. He was asked to become a sort of docent, which he accepted. It was a revelation for him; as a showman he loved interacting with visitors.
“He made visitors cry,” remembers Olivier Varenne, curator and buyer for David Walsh, a famous Australian collector and founder of the MONA. Walsh has already bought Christian Boltanski, a French artist whose life is filmed 24/7 and streamed live to the museum. Now Walsh wants to buy Steiner. “We would love that, but taking control of his life, it is a scary responsibility,” admits Varenne.
Steiner dreams of making crowds cry in Tasmania. Delvoye would rather hold an auction. “Wim would like the whole world to be able to buy Tim,” says Varenne.
The Belgian artist wants to make headlines, auction off a person to spark controversy and get a reaction from the market. But Steiner is getting impatient. He wants to meet “his” audience, tell his story and Wim’s, their common cause. He says he doesn’t want to repeat the past six years.
“Either I jump head first in the art world or I stop everything,” he says. He is a piece of art with the power to say: “Enough with this farce, I won’t end up on a shelf, collecting dust.” – Worldcrunch

I was ruined by Ran…


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Hello. Been staring at that ‘hello’ for ten minutes now. I haven’t ‘written’ anything here since last year. Don’t really know where I stand at the moment. Sitting doesn’t help… Little story: I was doing one of my ‘Tattoo Tim Tours’ at MONA in the southern hemisphere summer of ’12. I don’t remember much about it except the Ruiner. We fuckin’ clicked from the start. He had a black arm like Brother Matt and was generously covered in ink. The guy was buzzing. MONA was blowing his mind. Wim Delvoye was blowing his mind. He sucked it all up like his life was depending on it. Once the tour finished I took him up to the office balcony, we drank beer and lost ourselves in a unique conversation encompassing just about everything. It was perfect.

Ran Maclurkin is an artist from mainland Australia. He tattoos. He paints. He builds stuff with motors. He survived a motorbike accident that nearly killed him not too long ago. He was in Hobart to tattoo some clients at a friends’ house. Someone said check out MONA. He did and then it happened. I witnessed what ‘inspiration’ really means. The museum was kicking this guys’ ass. It was answering questions, it gave him clarity and a complete sense of confusion. It overwhelmed him. It moved him. And that inspiration left a mark. You see, MONA completed me and I broke apart once it was over. Ran took the bull by the horns and started the ‘Ruin Art Collective‘. He also tattooed me. He ruined my arm with a ‘bunny rabbit man’ and it’s one of my very favourites. His style is controversial. Lot of love and plenty of hate for what he does. But the haters make him famous… Anyway, he started his collective with a vivid plan and a motivation bag bursting at the seams. He combined his passions, he worked hard and now it appears that he’s ‘living the dream’.

MONA inspired him. Now he’s doing the same for me. It’s been a privilege to virtually follow him on his journey. The World certainly wasn’t waiting for him, but it’s a different place now that he’s leaving his mark. I’ve been drowning since getting back to Europe. Barely know myself anymore. Without Stephanie my lungs would have water burst by now. But Ran took the outside intensity and made it his own. The theories I’ve had he’s put into practice. It’s working. I’m impressed. I wish him endless success and hope that one day Ran, Matt and I can sip some cold ones at the ‘Kontiki’ in Zürich, share battle stories and laugh.

TATTOO-MENSCH – Radio Energy Zürich


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Image courtesy of Léo Bigiaoui.

Ein Tattoo? Okay. Von einem Künstler gestaltet sogar sehr cool! Die Story geht jetzt jedoch weiter. Denn es gibt diesen Typen, Tim Steiner, welcher eine lebende Leinwand ist. Er liess sich ein Tattoo stechen im Namen der Kunst. Nach Tims Tod wird seine Haut abgelöst, gerahmt und dann von einem Auktionshaus versteigert.

Doch bis dahin ist dieser Typ ein lebendes Kunstwerk. So war er kürzlich auch im Pariser Louvre zu sehen. Energy will nun wissen, wie es ist ein «Lebendes Kunstwerk» zu sein und wie es ist, von Hunderten im Museum begafft zu werden.

Image courtesy of Léo Bigiaoui.

Listen to the interview here…

France 24 – Culture Critics


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Louvre Vernissage Party at Café Marly.

Today, we are going to see contemporary art at the Louvre. The world’s largest museum of fine arts has also a programme of contemporary art which graces a visual artist with a show within the permanent collection. This year it is the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, whose exhibition is staged in the magnificent apartments of Napoleon III.

Click here to see the video.

Phallic Symbols Meet Carpeted Pigs At Louvre


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Image courtesy of Studio Delvoye.


Would the Mona Lisa still smile if she knew she was sharing her home with a man whose tattooed back, to be peeled off after his death, was bought by an art collector for 200,000 euros ($241,800)?
Tim Steiner, the owner of that precious skin, is one of the items in an exhibition at the Louvre devoted to the Flemish enfant terrible Wim Delvoye. In fact, Steiner displayed his body only at the opening, long enough to be photographed for the show’s catalog. Delvoye, who was born in 1965 and works in Ghent, Belgium, made his name with scatological provocations. At the Documenta IX art exhibition in 1992, he surprised visitors with glazed tiles featuring pictures of his own feces.
In 2000, he built “Cloaca,” a digestive machine inspired by Chaplin’s film “Modern Times” that turned food into excrement. The smelly output, neatly packaged in cute jars, could be purchased by admirers of his art.
At the same time, Delvoye experimented with tattooing live pigs. When he ran into trouble with the authorities, he moved his “Art Farm” to China where animal — and human — rights are less of a concern.
In the Louvre show, the pigs appear in a form that even animal-rights activists can accept: They have morphed into polyester molds sewn into Indian and Turkish carpets.
Perhaps out of respect for the venerable Paris institution or because he has mellowed, Delvoye has toned down his provocative impulses.
At first, he wanted to top the Louvre’s glass pyramid, which he hates, with a steel construction, a kind of medieval belfry. When the curators protested, he settled for an 11-meter- high phallic sculpture inside the pyramid named “Suppo” (for suppository).
Looking closely at the piece, you discover distorted elements of Gothic architecture, another source of Delvoye’s exuberant imagination.
References to Gothic style also abound among the 30 or so objects displayed in the apartments of Napoleon III, an odd contrast to the pompous 19th-century furniture.
They include models of a chapel and a Gothic dump truck — both made of laser-cut steel — hand-carved car tires, a taxidermied rabbit on slippers and a 5-meter-high stained-glass window.
In the past, Delvoye peopled his church windows with copulating skeletons and other sex scenes. A sharper eye than mine may discover obscenities in this window; to me, it looks innocent.
The exhibition, which is supported by Mercedes-Benz AG and Louis Vuitton, runs through Sept. 17. Information: http://www.louvre.fr
(Jorg von Uthmann is a critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
Image found in the depths of the net…