Wim Delvoye. LV Multicolor, 2008. Tattoed pigskin, 165×120 cm.
The controversial ‘Art Farm’ created by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye rears pigs specifically as art objects. Tattooed with elaborate designs such as the Louis Vuitton insignia shown here, Delvoye’s project invokes the custom of branding livestock with identifying marks, a practice which led to the modern use of the term ‘brand’ in marketing. Graphically combining these two meanings, Delvoye forces us to confront the fact that the animal is purely a commodity, its skin often destined for use in luxury accessories, or in this case, as an artwork for galleries and collectors. In a further act of brand appropriation, the artist’s ‘signature’ is based on one of the world’s most recognizable trademarks – the Walt Disney logo. Often added to the tattooed designs, the fact that the sentimental, Disney-esque depiction of animals is far removed from the realities of Delvoye’s Art Farm provides a final touch of grim humour to what is already a disturbingly blunt representation of art as commerce.