Maarten Vanden Eynde

Horror Vacui

Latex mould, marble butchers scale, 5 framed paper quires (78 x 61 cm.)

Horror Vacui is the follow up of The Invisible Hand, a rubber copy of the right hand of Leopold II, taken at night from the sculpture by Thomas Vinçotte made in 1926, located at the Regentlaan in Brussels, Belgium. The mould was brought to a former rubber plantation in Kasai-Occidental in the Democratic Republic of Congo and filled up with natural rubber. The rubber hand was presented at the art fair Art Brussels, completing the problematic circle of colonial treasure hunting in relation to historical fetishisation. The mould is now displayed on an old marble butchers scale, as lumps of meat, one half not weighing the same as the other half, although they are both empty. 

Behind the scale, a series of prints are framed, showing radiographic images of the hands of Congolese boys and girls. It is part of the Annals of the Museum of Belgian Congo Tervuren and was published in 1951. The study was inspired by the American ‘Atlas of Skeleton Maturation of the Hand’ (1937) and ‘Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist’ (1950), which both made use of white children only. The results were compared and analysed for systemic differences.