Dutch artist Christiaan Zwanikken creates kinetic works of remarkable ingenuity from found animal skulls and bones. He transforms these parts into moving mechanical sculptures and installations. Their composite natural and mechanical make-up gives these figures their own unique character. He breeds these new species in a 400-year-old monastery located in a remote village in Portugal. He also works in Amsterdam and New York.

Zwanikken’s works have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Gasunie collection, Netherlands Media Art Institute and numerous other public and private collections. Zwanikken’s installations are like interactive Wunderkammers, configurations of hybrid, techno-animalistic figures, that come to ‘life’, responding to the viewer and to each other.

Zwanikken plays nature – against artificial – against viewer removing any authoritative role: his hierarchy is governed by a different order. Due to the unpredictability of the computer-aided elements, it is not certain who responds to whom, and who is looking or being looked at. By making technology seem to be ‘out of control’, Zwanikken ironizes the hype around interaction in media art and the illusion of smooth-running communications. As a rule his installations demonstrate human or animal conduct and thus serve as a handle for investigating and critiquing nature and behavior. His fusion of organic and inorganic materials mashed with interactive technology demonstrates the evolution and de-evolution of sculpture in the twenty-first century.



1993 – 1994 Rijks Academy for visual arts, Amsterdam
1989 – 1992 Rietveld Academy for visual arts, Amsterdam

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2013 Nature Rewired, Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen (NL)
  • 2011 American Museum of Natural History, Margaret Mead Festival, New York, (USA)
    Convento , Roof Top Films, New York, (USA)
    Edinburgh International Film Festival, (UK)
  • 2010 Space for Contemporary Art Bewaerschole, Burgh Haamstede, (NL)

  • 2009 Galerie Ramakers, The Hague, (NL)
  • 2008 Galerie Nanky de Vreeze Drawings and Projects, Middelburg, (NL).
  • 2006 L’esprit Du Nord, Galerie/Parc de Sculptures Le Besset, St. Jeure d’Andaure, (FR)
  • 2005 Galerie Ramakers, The Hague, (NL)
  • 2004 Gasunie, Groningen,(NL)
  • 2002 Wezenlijke Machines, Museum Naturalis, Leiden, (NL)
  • 2001 Galerie Ramakers, The Hague, (NL)
  • 2000 Rithm, Dance of Time, Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, (NL)
  • 1998 Maquina Total, Galerie Ramakers, The Hague, (NL)
  • 1997 New Dutch Sculptors 9, Het Glazen Huis Amstelpark, Amsterdam, (NL)
  • 1995 Re-Animations, Montevideo Gallery, Amsterdam, (NL)
  • 1994 Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven, (NL)

Group exhibitions

  • 2013 Kinetica Art Fair London (UK)
    Peter Feiler and Christiaan Zwanikke, Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2012 La marionette: Objet d’histoire, oevre d’art, objet de civilisation? Musée des arts forains and Bibliotheque nationale de France, Paris, (FR)
    Museumnacht, Arti Et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. (NL)
    ISEA2012 International symposium on electronic Art, 516ARTS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Op De Bres Festival, Memory Water Stelling van Amsterdam, UNESCO world heritage (NL)
    Generaal Pardon, Taxidermia Paraplufabriek, Nijmegen (NL)
    Realisme 12 Artfair Amsterdam, artKitchen Gallery Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2011 Paranoia Exit 2011, Maison des Arts ,Créteil (FR)
    VIA 2011 Le Manège, Maubeuge (FR)
    Gare Saint Sauveur, Lille, France. Kinetica Artfair 2011, London (UK)

  • 2010 Technology Requested, Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam (NL)
    Kersentijd, Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, (NL)
    Art Amsterdam, Galerie Ramakers (NL)
    Kunst Vlaai/Art Pie, Never Everland, Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2009 Kunst is Zilver, Gas is Goud, Gasunie, Groningen, (NL)
    The Magpie Chapel, Sint Oedenrode, (NL) (a permanent public art commission)
    Christiaan Zwanikken and Brecht, Galerie Ramakers, (NL)
  • 2008 Steampunk Time Machine, Artkitchen gallery, Amsterdam (NL)
    Exploring (Retro) Future, Gogbot/MediaLab, Enschede, (NL)
    Mirrors for the Soul, Grote Kerk, Veere, (NL)
    These are a few of my favourite things, Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, presentation at Art Amsterdam (NL)
    CS Editions, Eindhoven, presentation at Art Amsterdam (NL)
    Bloody Beautiful (part 2) Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2007 Galerie Ramakers presentation at PAN Amsterdam (NL)
    Rock My Religion : Religion My Rock, Odapark, Venray, (NL)
    Recent Sculptures & Installations, The Convento, Mertola, (PO)
    Inspired By Nature, Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, (NL)
    Highlights Inspired By Nature, Galerie Ramakers,  Art Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2006 Robodock 2006 technology & arts festival, Amsterdam (NL)
    White Works Galerie Ramakers, presentation at Art Amsterdam (NL)
  • 2005 Nationale Wetensschapsquiz, broadcast presentation of multiple installations, VPRO Dutch public broadcasting corporation.
    Lat-Lab, Odapark, Venray, NL. Moving Parts, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switserland. Low Tech, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, (NL)
  • 2004 Moving Parts, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria, The Water Museum, Convento Sao Francisco, Mertola, Portugal.
    Sieraden voor het Gebouw, Collection Gasunie, Museum De Buitenplaats, Eelde, (NL)
    Art Rotterdam, Galerie Ramakers, Rotterdam, (NL)
    Welcome to 2004, Galerie Ramakers, (NL)
    Christiaan Zwanikken at Gasunie, Gasunie, Groningen, (NL)
  • 2003 Gewoon is Ongewoon, Kunstcentrum Hengelo, Hengelo, (NL)
    Beweging, Nemo Museum, Amsterdam, (NL)
    Bewegend Lichaam, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, (NL)
  • 2002 Mount Ego, W139, Amsterdam, (NL)
    La Clef De Voute, Chateau lamothe, Lamothe, (FR)
    Grip, Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, (NL)
    Energietik CBK-Groningen, (NL)
  • 2001 Alles Onder Controlle, Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen, (NL)
    Three Minutes Silence… ICAEE/Gallery Surge, Tokyo, Japan.
    Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, (NL)
  • 2000 Rithm, Dance of Time, Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, (NL)
    Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, (NL)
    The Second, National Galerie, Prague, (CZ)
  • 1999 De Novo Em Movimento, Convento Sao Francisco, Mertola, Portugal
    15 Years Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag (NL)
  • 1998 The Second, Museu del Chopo, Mexico-City, Mexico.
    Maquina Total, Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag, (NL)
    The Second, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.
    Maquina Total, Kunstruimte Berlin, Berlin, (GER)
    The Second, ICC Centre, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1997 Ecce Nietzche, Beeldende Kunst in de Trust, University of Amsterdam, (NL)
    New Dutch Sculptors 9, Het Glazen Huis Amstelpark, Amsterdam, (NL)
    The Second, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, (NL)
    10 Years Niggendijker, Kunstcentrum Niggendijker, Groningen, (NL)
  • 1996 Tjonge Jonge, Galerie Sub K, Utrecht, (NL)
    Twelve Environments, ICAEE/Galery Surge, Tokyo, Japan.
    Re-Animations, Kunstlerhaus Dortmund, Dortmund, (GER)
    NowHere, Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven, (NL)
    Ons Dorp, Veem Theater, Amsterdam.
  • 1995 Tumba La Casa Co’s It’s For La Razza, Société Jet Lag, Paris, (FR)
    Tu Pare, J’ecoute, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, (FR)
    Uitgelicht, KunstRai 1995, Amsterdam, (NL)
    Re-Animations, Montevideo, Amsterdam, (NL)
    Inventors, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, (NL)


Interspecies Dysphoria, 2012, robotic sculpture, Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, NL.
Scorched-earth, installation, Paranoia Exhibition 2011, MAC Creteil, Paris, France.
The Magpie Chapel, 2008/2010, a permanent public art commission, Sint Oedenrode, NL.


Water Strider, 2007, a floating kinetic cinematic sculpture. (ongoing) Supported by Instituto das Artes, Lisbon, Portugal.
Jules Verne’s Window, 2005, permanent public art commission, Jules Verne School, Hoorn, The Netherlands.
Frantic Diggers, 2004/ 2005, installation commissioned by Kunsthaus Graz, Austria and Museum Tinguely,
Basel, Switzerland for the exhibition Moving Parts Forms of the Kinetic.
Phoenix, 2004, 5 permanent sculptures for the 5 head offices of GasUnie, The Netherlands.
The Mechanical Donkey / The Water Garden, 2004, (a permanent public art commission) supported by the EU Leader+ program and Associação Entre Dois Rios, Mértola, Portugal.
Pendulous Minders, 2000, 3 kinetic sculptures commissioned by Tropen Museum Amsterdam for the exhibition Rhythm, Dance of Time.
Birds of Oblivion, 2000, permanent public art commission, care & nursing house De Wiekslag, Soest, The Netherlands.
The Ageless, 1998, a permanent art commission. Care & nursing house Daelhoven, Soest, The Netherlands.
Twarhomme, 1995, sculpture for collection AKZO NOBEL, Arnhem, The Netherlands.