The Vibrating Image
Betonmolen [Cement Mixer], 1993-1993
“I use ornament – a pre-modernist activity – but I agree with the fact of its criminal character. And I count on the fact that my use of ornament is criminal. You can almost compare it to smoking now. You can’t naively smoke anymore. You know it’s not healthy, but you do it.” - Wim Delvoye
The cement mixer of Wim Delvoye is made completely from wood and decorated with white-painted foliage and other motifs. Here Delvoye conjures the transformation of an everyday object into an enigmatic one. On first sight it looks like a piece of baroque furniture from a far-off epoch. The term ‘baroque’ in this case refers more to its original meaning – namely capricious or bizarre forms of creation – than to the style-period of that name. Stylistically seen, all of Delvoye’s decorated concrete mixers are indeed rather more a mixture of styles from different periods than beholden to the rules of any one particular style. As to form, the cement mixers look terribly logical, but not at all with respect to content. A cement mixer has nothing to do with the past; on the contrary, it is an icon of our contemporary society. But nonetheless, owing to the assemblage of materials and iconography, the object still harks back to bygone times.