Ives Maes is a visual artist who lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied sculpture at the Royal Academy in Ghent, Belgium and a post-graduate program at HISK, Antwerp. In 2008 he was a resident at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin.
In 2004 he started working on the 'Recyclable Refugee Camp' project, which is an ironic proposal for a biodegradable living unit. It consists of biodegradable structures such as shelters, latrines and fountains that are built in conformity with the regulations of the U.N.H.C.R. But rather than being a worthy solution for grave matters it tackles the ethical imperative that encourages art to intervene in the world. Recyclable Refugee Camp is an ironic attempt to make a 100% ethical correct piece of art. This investigation has led to several specific projects and exhibitions in contemporary art centers such as the SMAK in Ghent, Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Ludwig Forum in Aachen and the Museo de arte Carillo y Gil in Mexico City. In 2008 the project came to an end with an extensive publication by Mer Paper Kunsthalle.
Currently he is working on a photographic series about World's Fairs. For this project Ives Maes is traveling throughout the world to photograph reminisces of World's Fair pavilions and monuments. The utopian visions of the future that were projected during these fairs are often in strong contrast with the heritage of poorly conserved architecture and neglected monuments. It is this fringe between utopia and dystopia that the artist wants to capture in a series that represent all the World's Fairs that have taken place since 'The Great Exhibition of all Nations and Industries' in London in 1851. Since 2008 these photographs have been exhibited amongst others in Z33 Hasselt, the Photo Museum in Antwerp, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Void+ in Tokyo and the National Museum in Beijing. In 2012 this project will be fully exhibited in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.