Maarten Vanden Eynde

Curriculum Vitae > Download Portfolio 2022 (11MB)
°Leuven, Belgium 12/02/1977. Lives and works in Brussels (BE) and Saint Mihiel (FR)

Since the dawn of man, progress has been the main driver for evolution. Contemporary globalisation bearing daily changes at an unprecedented speed, favours a linear understanding of time. The world of the present is being pushed and pulled towards the future, leaving the constant growing past behind. In a collective frenzy of euphoria we are all together building a better and more convenient world. Or are we?

For almost two decades I have been studying humanities ecological impact on Earth, visualised by the current geological layer we will leave behind for future generations. Most of my works start from an investigation into the materiality of objects that surround us, ranging from the origin of the different materials and the contexts in which they are extracted, transported and transformed, to the remains after they are no longer in use. The Anthropocene, a new and contested geologic chronological term to define the epoch that began when human activities started having a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, is my main area of interest. The discourse around this new term and its entanglements within a global and postcolonial context is at the core of my artistic research.

In my art practice I try to stop the clock and take time to unravel the process and consequence of time. I deliberately look for and relate to different fields of study, social contexts and anthropological perspectives as an arena in which I produce, exhibit and talk about my work, ranging from marine biology to cosmology, and from social anthropology to futurology.

My practice is embedded in long term research projects that allow me to focus on a specific topic for many years and generate multiple works and presentation opportunities. For instance, I developed and studied the concept of 'Genetology' (The Science of First Things) from 2003 to 2014 and tried to define this non-existing opposition to the existing Eschatology (The Science of Last Things). In general Genetology studies human nature to facilitate and stimulate change, manipulate evolution and alter the world in order to create something new. Today I still use this fictional science as a methodology and framework to look at the world we live in.

From 2008 to 2013, I worked on a research project and sculpture called 'Plastic Reef', a growing installation of melted plastic debris from the world's oceans, dealing both with one of humanity's most pressing pollution problems and the disappearance of coral reefs worldwide. Within the same research project, several other works were made, exhibited and reviewed worldwide. For this project I worked closely together with several marine researchers and joined multiple scientific research expeditions. The different works and outcomes became part of the rising awareness of plastic pollution and the realisation that it will survive us and possibly even become one of the last leftover fragments representing human existence on planet Earth.

Currently I'm investigating the influence of transatlantic trade of pivotal materials (like rubber, oil, ivory, copper, cobalt, cotton, lithium and uranium), on the evolution of humankind, the creation of nations and other global power structures. The project 'Triangular Trade' traces back the origin of the different materials and follows their (r)evolutionary path as they are processed and transformed into 'world changing wonders'.

From 2020 to 2024 I will be part of the Artistic Research project 'Matter, Gesture, Soul' as a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Download Portfolio 2022 (11MB)