/ Zjos Meyvis

Zjos Meyvis (1950) is a self-taught well-established Belgian artist living and working in Hemiksem in the province of Antwerp. He has been working as an artist since 1974 and has taught 3D art at the Art Academy in Niel since 2016. He has received numerous prizes and has exhibited widely. In 2015–16, the Administrative Center and the Music Academy in Hemiksem organised a retrospective of his work, exhibiting some 80 works from the beginning of his career to the present day. The exhibition was divided into three categories showing his main focus: graphical works, landscape sculptures and pollinators. He was recently included in a group exhibition Foreshadows/Prefigurazioni (2019) at the gallery Kspaces in Turin, both curated by the American-Italian artist Victor Kastelic.

His artistic practice is especially renowned for the prolific production of three-dimensional art assemblages, known, as he calls them, as pollinators or pollen spreaders. These sculptural machines are assembled from "lost and found" daily objects he finds in his immediate environment. His artistic endeavour of creating these sound-and-movement producing environmentally focused assemblages can easily put him among the ranks of celebrities, such as a Swiss sculptor, Jean Tinguely (1925–1991), and his kinetic sculptural machines, known as Mémamatics. Tinguely's influential machines extended the Dada tradition into the later part of the 20th Century. Both artists' achievements focus their visual language on socially engaged art, but their environment messages differ. Unlike Tinguely, whose assemblages satirised automation and technological mass-production and consumerism of material goods, Meyvis's pollinators are, on the other hand, his alter ego cry for raising public awareness of urgently addressing environmental disaster in the making. The necessity of saving bees and other insects (pollinators) and the vulnerability of food production due to a careless overuse of the Monsanto pesticide-killing products in agriculture is an important message in his art assemblages.

They beat and hammer, whirl and snort, brush and bang, rattle and screech, lights flash on and off... as in life: a perpetual cycle. These are the Zjos Meyvis pollen spreaders. The works of art by Zjos Meyvis are essential in their complexity. They deal with the most important thing: the survival of man. No being is immortal. Reproducing is the most important thing. In this process of survival, pollen and its distribution are essential. Not only for direct food but also for the survival of plant and animal species... also for the mammal, known as "Homo Sapiens". Meyvis, the "Homo Haber", the artist tinker, reminiscent of a "Day After" hypothesis, combines recycled appliances, bits of furniture, leather, wire, rubber, glass and plastic and above all – pollen – in a heroic assemblage, mechanized to save the human race. The pollen spreaders illustrate the vulnerability of food production. The awareness that insects, especially bees, butterflies, and bumblebees, are dying out. We must not go wrong; behind this playful arrangement, a socially engaged art is hidden.
– Zjos Meyvis/Kspaces Archive, Turin (2022)

Zjos Meyvis, Pollen Collection Device, 2015, Kinetic, assembled and mechanized materials, pollen, 50 (length) x 30 (width) x 62 (height) cm. © The Artist

Zjos Meyvis, Sky Fertilizer, 2015, Kinetic, assembled and mechanized materials, pollen, 46 (length) x 27 (width) x 41 (height) cm. © The Artist

Zjos Meyvis, Pollinators at Kspaces, 2015, Kinetic, assembled and mechanized materials, pollen, Various sizes. © The Artist