Published on the occasion of the exhibition Animality, exhibited at Marian Goodman Gallery, London in 2016.
The very earliest cave paintings reveal that humans have cohabitated with animals for millennia. Yet the relationship is fraught and contradictory: we simultaneously mythologize, venerate, sacrifice, and exploit those who are not of our species. This paradox suggests that our connection with animals might be more complicated, and far richer, than commonly thought, and that the distinction between human and animal is not at all clear-cut.
Taking this question as its premise, Animality lays down a novel artistic and theoretical framework for interrogating our relationship to animals. It proposes six interrelated themes—Origins, Markings, Crossings, Variations, Traces, Extinctions—and involves more than seventy participants, mostly from the discipline of art but also from film, literature, philosophy, and science. Its spirited structure juxtaposes artworks and artifacts new and old, high and low, allowing relationships between art and non-art materials to emerge, and creating links between historical and contemporary social and political realities.
Animality connects to a larger debate around the so-called animal question that has involved such iconic thinkers as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, Emmanuel Levinas, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. Animality is conceived in part as a visual contribution to that conversation while also paying, of course, tribute to the diversity and beauty of the animal kingdom.
Published by Marian Goodman Gallery