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 Duck-Human-Mask

Projections Animalières

Curator : Caroline Picard

17 January - 8 February 2014
Opening  Thursday 16 Januaryat 6 pm

Opened from Tuesday to Saturday > 2 pm - 6 pm
Closed on sunday

Artists: Art Orienté objet (Marion Laval - Jeantet and Benoît Mangin), Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Jenny Kendler, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Tessa Siddle and Xaviera Simmons.

 Duck-Human-Mask

Projections Animalières

Curator : Caroline Picard

17 January - 8 February 2014
Opening  Thursday 16 Januaryat 6 pm

Opened from Tuesday to Saturday > 2 pm - 6 pm
Closed on sunday

 

Artists: Art Orienté objet (Marion Laval - Jeantet and Benoît Mangin), Marcus Coates, Assaf Evron, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Jenny Kendler, Stephen Lapthisophon, Milan Metthey, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Tessa Siddle and Xaviera Simmons.

“…There is an ‘inevitable propensity of [the human] mind’ to view the world as if it consisted not of an ever changing flow of time, but of a calculable set of things.”(Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter, Duke University Press, 2010, p.76)

"There is no static background. What we call Nature is monstrous and mutating, strangely strange all the way down and all the way through…The Book of Nature is more like a Mallarme poem than a linear, syntactically well organized, unified work. The words spread out on the page: we can’t tell whether to read from left to right, nor can we tell which words go with which. The words fluctuate and change position right before our eyes.” — Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought, Harvard University Press, 2010, p 61.

Humanity wants to identify its distinct superiority in the world. Part animal and part divine, the human sees itself as a distinct species capable of language, capable of conceiving of its own death, emerging from the primordial muck as the final stage in a great opera of consciousness. We are a species with a deep cultural and historical inheritance. We use tools and build buildings that transform our surrounding landscape. Nevertheless, while those attributes might at first appear like signs of an unique homosapian capacity, some other species stands in the eaves of our awareness, ready to present the very skill humanity had identified so proudly with. Even speech. “Up until the eighteenth century, language — which would become man’s identifying characteristic par excellence — jumps across orders and classes, for it is suspected that even birds can talk” [Giorigio Agamben, The Open]. Perhaps because of our inability to answer this peculiar question about human essence, perhaps because human reason imposes static, categorical definitions on our experience of the world, humanity is so invested in the superiority of human potential, we often overlook the strange character of animal cousins. The following group of visual artists reflect, critique, blur and upturn the bounds between what is and is not human. In so doing, they highlight the enigmatic fluidity of the natural landscape we inhabit.

Milan Metthey courts ducks in a duck costume, and Tessa Siddle embodies wolves from the popular TV series Game Of Thrones. Instead of using the animal form to enact Aesopian tales for human benefit, this animal embodiment helps artistic attempts to connect with, and conceive an animal mind. Art Orienté object goes a bit further; here the artist internalizes the animal. Que Le Cheval Vive En Moi documents the performance of a horse-to-human blood transfusion. In these efforts to connect with non-human beings, Metthey, Siddle and AOo vie to transcend anthropocentric life. Inherently fraught and prone to failure, these efforts test deep-seated assumptions about what is, and what is not, natural. Akosua Adoma Owusu's film Anance occupies a liminal space between human biography and myth, evoking the fable of a man/spider. Jenny Kendler presents a book with fur instead of text, and a nautilus shell growing hair — these forms seems to straddle animal and human worlds; their hybridity resists easy categorization. The nautilus could be the result of radioactive contamination. The book offers an impenetrable line of reason, for its pages contain an unrecognizable, though nevertheless tactile language. The Institute of Critical Zoologists installs a bee trap using blue paint as bait—a minimalist gesture that may or may not work. The same visual sign communicates in two different languages being semiotic to both human and bee alike. Although it rests on the floor like a rook, or a sleeping beetle, Assaf Evron's wooden sculpture translates an algorithmic color model from digital to literal space. Its bounds are defined by the computer’s limited ability to produce certain colors. In physical space, however, divorced from its origin, it becomes an impenetrable object with a seemingly natural interior and formal logic. Xaviera Simmons exhibits a photographic portrait wherein the human form is hidden by an assemblage of material objects.

Our preoccupation with the animal world is overwhelmingly anthropocentric. Animals furnish human experience with metaphors, symbols, and signs; conversely, their behavior is filtered through human values and mores. Rarely are they represented as having an autonomous animal world as rich and developed as our human one. By filtering them through the sieve of human culture, their strangeness is stripped away as well. They become the fixed, static objects of myth, representing an ideal rather than a real. In fact, as Projectionals Animalier proposes, the natural world is unfixable, monstrous and ever changing.

 

This projet will be exhibited at the Galerie 400 in University of Illinois - Chicago - january 2014
http://gallery400.uic.edu


Links :
Art Orienté Objet : http://aoo.free.fr/fr/index.html
Marcus Coates : http://www.workplacegallery.co.uk/artists/_Marcus%20Coates
Assaf Evron : http://www.assafevron.com
Institute of Critical Zoologists : http://www.criticalzoologists.org/main.html
Jenny Kendler : http://jennykendler.com/home.html
Milan Metthey : http://www.m-metthey.com
Akosua Adoma Owusu : http://akosuaadoma.com/home.html
Tessa Siddle : http://othervixen.tumblr.com/page/2

 

photo : Radio Controlled humain / Leurre de canard, image tirée de la vidéo Love Ducking Experiment,  Milan Metthey,  2011

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