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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Not a Description


Desk of Death. The desk of an amateur taxidermist: photo by Tup Wanders, 3 February 2006

The performance may not go according to plan: If the forbidden presence appears in the church “I will have to stop,” she said. 

The identity of this person remains as enigmatic as the smile on the face of the giant stuffed giraffe looking over her shoulder as she speaks. The giraffe, she says, is her mother, who looks down on her “with irony and sadness” from the whitewashed wall. 

Beside the giraffe, Ms. Calle’s other taxidermized roommates include a baby zebra, a monkey curled on a couch, a lounging tiger, crowned and sporting a giant colored-glass necklace, and two pink flamingos named after her friends the ceramic sculptor Johan Creten and the glass sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel.

“All these objects represent memories: I have such a bad memory,” she said. 

“I don’t describe or define what I do,” she said. “I let people like you do that.” 


Susan Kay Anderson said...

Isn't the Savannah the natural place to exhibit what we are famous for: running away? This seems like an encounter with an aggressive wildebeest disguised as someone in the bewilderment profession. I think I read that it is best not to look them straight in the eye--or was that what you do when seeing a cougar in Boulder Canyon.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Someone has eaten at the desk of death. You are not supposed to eat by the bones but I did once. It was on the Hawaii Kai Highway Widening Project where the backhoe hit them (not very unusual) in the sand rimming an ancient fishpond.
Back at the office, in the lab, they were sitting there, just in their paper bags. Someone had ordered pizza and everyone forgot about the bones and just stood around, eating. That wasn't supposed to happen. If the Office of Hawaiian Affairs had found out about this...well, let's just say that the blessing ceremony would've been even more emotional, more desperate than it was to be. All because in the bones is the mana, the life force that keeps everything going. This is not a light subject. It is very dense. Pizza would not be in the picture of that. Not at all. Anyhoo, what happened later was some bad luck for everyone: premature heart attack (yes, you, Frank Eble', R.I.P.--I miss you), strange diseases, my tumor, Adam berserk, Hihimanu Street turning unfriendlier. Stingray Street. A stingray is a boneless creature made of cartilage and electrical senors.



"I don't describe or define what I do. . ."


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, shadowed leaves on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

continue to paint landscape,
certain views of this

relation describe something,
horizontal, knowledge

grey white of fog reflected in channel,
pelican flapping across toward horizon

TC said...

This is not a light subject. A contemporary con artist is a boneless creature made of cartilage and electrical sensors, with the pizza slices pasted on to add love-handle ballast for the Alien Conjunction.

The artiste who speaks in this post is one Sophie Calle.

The contemporary con art practise of taxidermy art has proven lucrative for more than one practitioner. The most famous (and of course, the richest) is the fellow who encrusted a human skull in diamonds:


and encased a shark in formaldehyde in a glass tank for exhibit:

Postconceptualism (Water Version).

The photo at the top of the post recalls the Dutch tradition of the Vanitas still life. For some classic manifestations see also:

Walter Benjamin: Cult