© 2022, Vincent Mock
A new paradigm



01. A New Paradigm

rapidly declining biodiversity



In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
endlessly renewed.

When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.

The Master views the parts with compassion,
because he understands the whole,
His constant practice is humility.
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
but lets himself be shaped by the Tao,
as rugged and common as stone.

Lao Tsu – Tao Te Ching +-300BC

02. Sold overseas.

gold leaf or bronze

The world is facing a conservation crisis driven by habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade. Rangers are risking their lives trying to defend our last wild places against criminal syndicates. The population of African rhino’s is declining drastically and as of now it seems that we may lose the species before long. Vincent Mock, an artist who received the Van Vlissingen Art Prize for his work on combining art and conservation, helps to communicate this story for rhino conservation.

This impressive and perhaps controversial artwork is made from three real white rhinoceros skulls. These iconic beasts have fallen victim to the exponentially increasing poaching atrocities carried out in Africa today. Rhino horn is currently one of the most expensive ‘commodities’ in the world. Rhino horn is in great demand as both a status symbol and a healing agent, mainly in China and Vietnam. 

This innovative project is aimed to raise awareness using contemporary art as a medium, while at the same time being part of the discussion and conveying a message very close to the heart of the artist. The skulls originate from Marakele Park, South Africa where Mock has worked managing a rhino breeding area. Ever since being confronted with Africa’s poaching problem first hand, the artist has been obsessed with telling an activistic conservation story through his work. It took a legal team (De Roos Advocaten) over three years to gain permission of both the South African and Dutch governments (CITES) for this extensive and ongoing art project. 

There are two variations of the work. One (a triptych) is made from real white rhino skulls covered in gold leaf and engraved by Chinese artist and master calligrapher Zhou Le Sheng (1959) with a +-2300 year old text from the Tao Te Ching, originally written by Lao Tzu. The ancient text strikes the essence of nature conservation even though it arose in a time when humans were much more in harmony with their natural environment. The horns of the sculptures are made of semi transparent cast glass a though they are vanishing.