“Borrowing its title from the legendary BBC programme, Animal Magic gathers different contemporary practices exploring the animal realm. Tessa Farmer, Polly Morgan and Olly & Suzi have all contributed to this exhibition with new work.
Originated out of a fascination for anatomy and the behavior of insects, Tessa Farmer’s intricate sculptural installations (above) play out the surreal universe of warrior fairies. Messy and incomprehensible at first, Farmer’s pieces reveal on closer inspection incredibly complex scenarios of microscopic slaughters, led by feral little soldiers made out of roots and fragments of insects. The fairies’ behaviour parodies recorded accounts of torture of the innocent, of evil begetting evil through the direct experience of torture and punishment and crime perpetuated through ‘ethnic cleansing’. Farmer’s tiny creations are decreasing in size with each generation, the difficulty of their execution becoming another manifestation of their sadistic violence. In Farmer’s meticulous works, fantasy and cruelty, dream and scientific details, are never far apart.
Polly Morgan has developed taxidermy into a refined, if twisted, art practice. She often seeks to subvert the public’s long-held perceptions of animals as ‘bad’ or ‘sweet’. Only using animals that are road casualties or donated to her by their owners after their natural or unpreventable death, Morgan arranges birds, rats, or squirrels – her subjects of choice – into delicate ‘still lives’; a dead sparrow reclines on the leather-bound old testament, a little chick mourns the death of its pigeon friend, sometimes a rat spills out of champagne glass. Usually Morgan doesn’t try to hide the fact that her subjects are dead, the rigor mortis of the animal enhancing their fragile beauty. Yet recently, she started to develop compositions that juxtapose the obviously dead with animals that appears so lively that they seem about to move. Morgan’s pieces both evoke the fleetingness of life and celebrate nature.
For the last twenty years, Olly & Suzi have worked together in some of the most remote and less domesticated habitats on earth. At the core of their art is their desire to record from life their experiences of nature. Their works function like snapshots of the artists’ encounters with the wild, the fluid lines of their paintings encapsulating the fleetingness of these exceptional moments. After numerous expeditions all over the globe, painting anacondas in the marshes of Venezuela or great whites in South Africa, Olly & Suzi have now chosen to focus on African wild dogs and polar bears. In their works these endangered predators reach the status of symbols epitomizing all species in danger of extinction. They remind us of the fragility of the planet’s eco-system and point at our responsibility to preserve its bio-diversity.”
For further information on Animal Magic call 020 7823 5540.
1st until 24th May 2008
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 11.00 – 6.00
Thursday 11.00 – 7.00
Saturday 11.00 – 4.00
At other times please call for an appointment
Eleven 11 Eccleston Street London SW1W 9LX