I am not really in favour of the practice of taxidermy. The idea of having a deer head on the wall or trampling of beer skin rugs is just not that appealing. I do though like art which has hints to taxidermy influence. And in the fine art world at the moment there is alot of it going on. Some work is overt in gesture while others take a different direction in exploring the sense of preservation but in varied style and materiality. Here is a sampler of some of the better creatures I’ve come across:
Kate Clark [link] – animals with human faces. The works have a sense of emotional uncertainty that comes with animals of the wild. These are ripe with anxiety and empathy. It’s hard to know how to feel about these.
Jessica Joslin [link] varied in materiality, these sit somewhere between circus and steampunk. Surreal.
Elizabeth McGrath [link] handmade dioramas of isolated freakshow imbedded in the bodies of an animal. One of the few good examples of Pop Surrealist sculpture.
Motohiko Odani [link] yikes!
Sarah Garzoni [link] unique taxidermic interpretations.
Thomas Grunfeld [link] – hybrid taxidermy
Art of Dr Seuss – Unorthodox Taxidermy [link] I want these for my house. This is the only form of taxidermy I could handle in my day-to-day.
Damien Hirst [link] although Hirst work does little for me, he has to be mentioned here.
These two examples are not taxidermy at all but I thought were worth a mention here as there both explore ‘inventing’ new animals and alternative world of creatures.
Nicholas Di Genova [site] Recently on Hi-Fructose they posted images of Di Genova’s new show in NY. The show consists of a beautiful body of gridded drawings of animal heads and like Grunfeld, hybrid combinations or rather genetically modified mutations of unlikely creatures and other things. Very cool, striking, intense stuff.
Nemo Ramjet Snaiad – Life on Another World [link]. This is a ongoing project which details the invented animal world of Snaiad. As they describe on the site:
“Snaiad is a vast world, slightly larger in surface area than Earth. Although the majority of its surface lies unexplored, satellite images and ecological surveys have given us a rough picture of what the planet looks like.”
Again from the website: ‘Life on Snaiad is similar to life on many other planets; inconceivably old and diverse, and full of surprises. Besides traditional “vertebrates,” the planet is also home to widely different phyla such as Arthrognathans, Elastozoans, Trilateralans, Terrabivalves and weird animal-plant symbiotes, not to mention Green and Red plants and a whole host of other sessile organisms.’
Even the anatomy of Snaiadian ‘Vertebrates’ are outlined to the extent of detailed anatomical systems for the animals – skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, nervous and reproductive.
Appendix – while I was doing a bit of research for this post I came across the site Crappy Taxidermy. As you can imagine it is a collection of horrid examples of taxidermy, but not all of it crappy though. Rather than identify some of worst examples, what I found more interesting was some of the vintage photography which incorporates taxidermy paired with kids strangley, as so:
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