Exhibition: ‘Animalesque’, Art across Species and Beings


Untitled (Human Mask), Film, colour, sound, © Pierre Huyghe, 2014

In today’s world of increasing awareness of environmental issues, there is a need to rethink our relationship with nature and its inhabitants. That is what Animalesque/Art across Species and Beings, taking place in Bildmuseet, Sweden between June 14th and October 10th, 2019, prompts its visitors to ponder.

‘The suffix “esque” refers to a mode of resemblance, of a way of being in the style of something. To be Animalesque is to resemble an animal, to be animal-like, to be able to potentially become another animal.’ Curator Filipa Ramos says when talking about the intellectual process behind the exhibition. ‘Animalesque proposes practical, poetic, politic and sensorial experiences of becoming other by considering the transformations that such a process may generate in our bodies, minds, and in our cognitive, emotional and perceptive systems.’ She continues.

Bringing together an extensive array of works of 17 international artists (Pierre Huyghe, Carsten Höller, Pia Arke, Marcus Coates or Luca Frei, among others) across a variety of media, the exhibition examines the human’s place on the planet, its connection to the changing environment and other species, and the problems we all face in this critical time of environmental crisis. Animalesque, which essentially means resembling an animal, depicts human-animal relationships aiming to blur the line between species thus creating a more harmonious path to coexistence. It invites viewers to imagine transcending to another species and contemplate how that change affects them mentally, emotionally and sensorially, in order to create a more conscious and compassionate attitude towards other creatures.

The exhibition appeals to the visitor’s visual as well as auditory perception with sounds of nature and immersive compositions that unfold through time and space producing a unique and captivating atmosphere. Animals present at the exhibit are not portrayed in the traditional way, prized and capitalized for their skin and fur.

The show has no distinct start or finish, no single entrance or exit, and neither a regular display structure. It unravels naturally and defies the traditional idea of show space, all the while bringing about a feeling of otherness through the interplay of light, shadows, sounds, and motion. Animalesque encourages us to appreciate otherness within us and compels us to realize that for change to happen, it needs to start with oneself.

Transversing many different disciplines such as philosophy, morality, environmentalism, and critical theory, the exhibition urges humanity open up to nature and other living things, be mindful of its effect on them, and wholeheartedly commit to change.

Text by CLOT Magazine (Twitter @clotmagazine)

Website http://www.bildmuseet.umu.se/en/
(Photo courtesy of Pierre Huyghe and Bildmuseet)

22 Jun 2019