Hox Paradox, 2005-2014
Maarten Vanden Eynde

Wood, glue, mahogany display cabinet
51 x 41 x 10 cm

Hox Paradox is a reassembled slice of a tree made with different remnants of pieces of wood. The work refers to the so-called hox genes that determine, at the beginning of an organism’s development, whether limbs or wings appear on a certain location. For example, the hox gene ensures that our arms start just below the head and not somewhere halfway up the body, or that humans don’t develop wings for instance. The paradox lies in the fact that although all organisms have the same gene, it works out slightly differently for each species and why that happens is still a mystery. In the speculative event that trees no longer exist in a distant future, Hox Paradox imagines how the wide variety of pieces of wood will help figuring out where they originally came from. By following the growth rings, a patterns emerges, allowing for a partial reconstruction without however revealing how the whole tree must have looked like.

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