In what might seem an unlikely choice, the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye – most famous for his work titled ‘Cloaca’, a machine that produces excrement from food, and for tattooing pigs – is exhibiting fifteen works within the historic galleries of the Louvre. And despite the absense of feaces or livestock, Delvoye considers this his most cutting edge show to do date. “After Cloaca and the tattooed pigs, I feel I've proven myself. I know how to do Duchamp and avant-garde, provocative pieces. I feel the pieces at the Louvre are even more provocative,” he says. “There are pieces in the show that have taken two to three years to make . . . that's criminal in today's world, in which a new fair opens every week. Today, there is no time to make an œuvre.”

Yet to the thousands of visitors of the Louvre there is nothing shocking about Delvoye’s twisted later-cut steel steeple, intricately sculpted tyres or polyester pigs covered in Persian carpets. Nor is there anything provocative about his other pieces – all in his signature decorative arts style – crafted from stained glass, porcelain and bronze, which reveal his current fascination with nineteenth-century sculpture and his ironic reinterpretations of this. The only piece that might prove controversial is the eight crucified christs placed on a dining room table in Napoleon III’s apartment.

Why the swing towards the safe from an artist who is naturally inclined to shock and surprise? “Cloaca was a great fit for the MuHKA [Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen], because people went there expecting to see art, prestigious contemporary art, and were furious to see shit, or rather, shit officially labelled as art,” he says. “But the Louvre targets a mass audience, so this show shouldn't be judged as a Wim Delvoye show, but rather as Wim Delvoye for Dummies.”

May 31 – September 17, 2012