June 20–August 29, 1999
Curated by Marketta Seppälä and Linda Weintraub, this unusual traveling exhibition explores the complexity of human and animal relationships in contemporary art. Including the work of fifteen prominent artists, Animal.Anima.Animus. reveals how animals are viewed as soul mates, cosmological beings, mirrors of ourselves, behavioral models, sacrificial protectors, and even as artists. On view at P.S.1 June 20 through August 29, the exhibition will occupy P.S.1’s main third floor galleries, featuring installation, video, sculpture, and photography, as well as drawing and painting.
The artists included in Animal.Anima.Animus. are Marina Abramovic, Colin Beatty, José Bedia, Xu Bing, Hubert Duprat, Thomas Grünfeld, Jan Harrison, Jussi Heikkilä, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Kaisu Koivisto, Per Maning, Dennis Oppenheim, Michal Rovner, Carolee Schneemann, and Yukinori Yanagi.
Animal.Anima.Animus. seeks to provide a platform for discussion between different disciplines on topics concerning animals—from animals in society and animal societies to cultural images of animals and their meanings as well as actual issues of animal rights, consciousness and animals’ role in human life. In Animal.Anima.Animus. animals are not treated as pets, nor as a resource available for exploitation by human beings. On the contrary, notes curator Seppälä, “the exhibition elaborates an alternative paradigm: animals can be understood not as creatures of another world, of nature, but as co-inhabitants with human beings in our common world.”
Some of the artists in the exhibition literally collaborate with living animals, either as form-givers or artistic performers, while some are strongly inspired by the mythology surrounding animals. Among the many extraordinary works included in Animal.Anima.Animus. is Hubert Duprat’s installation with caddis fly larvae that build delicate cocoons for themselves out of precious stones and metals provided by the artist.
The publication accompanying the exhibition documents the art projects produced at the Pori Art Museum in Finland. Eight scholars working in diverse animal-related fields—John Berger, Ben-Ami Scharfstein, Yrjö Haila, Tim Ingold, Gisli Palsson, Juhani Pallasmaa, Val Plumwood, and Daniel Simberloff—explore the cultural roles of animals as well as our role as observers who detect new layers of meaning in what we see; they compare pre-historic, historic, and contemporary attitudes toward animals as well as today’s art with past art. The English edition of the catalog Animal.Anima.Animus. is published by FRAME: The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange and the Pori Art Museum.
Animal.Anima.Animus. was previously on view at the Pori Art Museum in Finland and the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, Holland. Following its presentation at P.S.1, the exhibition will travel to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada in 2000. The exhibition is toured by FRAME: The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange.
This exhibition has been made possible in part by FRAME: The Finnish Fund for Art Exchange; The Finnish Ministry of Culture; The Mondriaan Foundation, The Netherlands; ifa –Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V., Germany; Pro Helvetia, Switzerland; Nordisk konst- och konstindustrikommitté; Services Culturels de l’Ambassade de France, New York; Nokia; Finnair; City of Pori, Finland.