Tuesday, February 15, 2005
"Misfit" at ARCO 2005
I took Wesendonck, a friend of hers, and the Russkaya to ARCO, the big Contemporary Art Fair of Madrid. What really stroke a chord was a piece by Thomas Grünfeld, one of a series he has been making for the last fifteen years, called "Misfit". The picture (above) is eloquent. Imagine a taxidermist trying his hand, in a frankensteinian experiment, at creating an hybrid from the head and long neck of a giraffe, the wings and torso of an ostrich and the lower body, including legs, of a horse..
Cloning and genetic engineering, gene manipulation, Dolly the Sheep, HG Wells' Dr. Moreau - all comes to mind. Two links here, for me, in particular: the misfit would be perfect on my "cabinet of curiosities" at the Calle . (It could join, if only the gallery from Cologne was not asking 150 000 USD, my other stuffed pets. Ysmail, the penguin, Medvedev, the Siberian bear, Un-named, the Volga eagle; Un-named, the Don badger; Un-named, the Marrakshish iguana; Un-named, the Kamchatka squirrel; Un-named, the Urals mink. And the fur skins of an Angolan Lynx, a Sudan Zebra plus and old Leopard fur coat). The other link is the building of a "chimera" itself. Nature's "impossibilities" but that research in immunogenetics made after all possible. Grünfeld's "Misfits" are chimeras. But would those chimeras be necessarily misfits? Are we not guilty here of the traditional sin of attributing human emotions to non-humans? Is the giraffe-ostrich-horse aware of its singularity? Is it aware of being a misfit? Is it sad about it? Of course, a good title is supposed to make us ask questions. This time round its the concept ("misfit") rather than the object (chimeric stuffed bird-mammal) that remains stronger in our minds. Do all of us, misfits one way or the other, have wings that do not square with our long necks? Heads that seemed unrelated to our torsos and legs? Are we aware of that? Are we sad about it?