Michiel De Cleene

Vulva Island

Michèle Matyn

Vulva Island, a sculpture by Michèle Matyn in Bichterweerd, Dilsen-Stokkem

Bichterweerd is a true nursery for nature. Rare species such as the corn bunting, sand martin, and yellowhammer call it home. Belgian artist Michèle Matyn (°1978) designed four binoculars with which you can scan the surroundings, just like the birdwatchers who often take up positions here.

Water as a source of life

Looking towards the island, you can see six green-red figures. Although the six sculptures have an egg shape, their green and red colors are more reminiscent of a watermelon. This association seems far-fetched but is far from it: in art history, watermelons frequently appear as fertility symbols, from ancient Egypt to 17th-century Flemish painting. This probably has to do with the fact that watermelons grow extremely quickly and are packed with water. Desert travelers even take them along as water bottles. In this way, Matyn’s sculptures not only symbolize the nature on the breeding island, but also water as a source of life.


Michèle Matyn developed a performance for this artwork around the figure of the birdman, a mythical being that is half human and half bird. He moves between the mainland and the island, and most resembles a platypus. Although the birdman is rarely seen, his traces – created by his performances – can be found everywhere around the island.

BIO Michèle Matyn

Michèle Matyn (°1978) ventures into nature with her cameras. She gathers images and stories, which she then translates into sculptures, installations, and performances. Her sensitivity to nature is fueled by a keen interest in ancient folklore and customs, anthropological myths and legends, and other tales about the boundaries between humans, animals, and demons. Matyn’s work has been shown in many places, including solo exhibitions at the M HKA and the Van Abbemuseum. Her installation “The Water Knows, Study for Pulcinella” was recently on display at Z33.

29.02 to 30.09.24