Three selections from the work of Maarten Vanden Eynde, Belgian artist

Buy, borrow or otherwise acquire Digging Up The Future by Maarten Vanden Eynde (2020, Maastricht University Press). Or go first to his website, This artist is so very relevant to today’s environmental policies, or what passes for them.

Below are reproduced (apologies for the poor digital quality) three selections, verbatim, from the book and found at the website:

Restauration du lac de Montbel

“Every year the Montbel lake in the southwest of France, dries out a bit more. This is partly due to global warming and partly to the use of the lake by local fire department helicopters in fighting nearby forest fires. In a vain attempt to restore something that is broken both physically and metaphorically, Maarten Vanden Eynde tries to repair the bottom of the lake by filling up the cracks with plaster. The gesture, documented in this photograph, is of course futile and to no avail.

“‘Restauration du lac de Montbel‘ hints at the loss of knowledge that is an inherent result and part of the passing of time. Consequently we are all doomed to make ridiculous gestures and draw false or incomplete conclusions in the future, because objective knowledge will always be outnumbered by subjective (mis)interpretation.”


Homo stupidus stupidus

Homo Stupidus Stupidus (2008), MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium, 2012 (photo: Maarten Vanden Eynde)

”’Homo stupidus stupidus‘ is a human skeleton that has been taken apart and put back together again in a different and rather puzzling shape that bears little relationship to human anatomy despite our knowledge of it. It is a critical comment on the human arrogance that declares itself doubly wise – Homo sapiens sapiens – and names after itself an entire geological era, the Anthropocene, to represent its own influence on Earth. ‘Homo stupidus stupidus’ questions the extent of human self-awareness, of self-knowledge of where we come from, how we evolved, and where we are going. The work symbolises our inherent failure in understanding ourselves or predicating our future on the basis of our past and present.”


Genetologic Research no. 2 & 4

Genetologic Research Nr. 2&4 (2003), TENT, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2003 (photo: Wouter Osterholt)

“Lengths of wood from different trees are glued together so as to resemblea tree trunk. The growth rings are matched together like a puzzle, as if an attempt has been made to recreate a tree’s original shape without any surviving point of reference, the growth rings being the only visible guidelines available. ‘Genetologic Research no. 2 & 4‘ are among the earliest examples of an imaginary journey into a fictional future past, where knowledge is lacking and frames of reference are flawed.”


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