8. March 2001 – 31. March 2001

Alexandra Schlag (AT), Ingeborg Strobl (AT)

Theme of Focus: ANIMAL 2001

Ingeborg Strobl

This does not go on any cowhide
Thoughts on Installation, 2000

Empty walls – instead the reference to a cosy atmosphere with upholstered furniture and sofa table. Moreover, the seating furniture is draped with lush cushions that are covered with colourful and cheerful patterns of animal themes. At the centre of the Installation a stack of 16-paged brochures lies on the table – free samples.

The cover page entices with a picture of a bare-chested woman in fur; taking the brochure is easy and pleasant. The content of the brochure is, however, an entirely different story. The usual and appalling way in which man treats animals is depicted in extreme forms: on the one hand the minimization of – and on the other hand the exploitation of domestic animals for economic purposes and as objects of profit maximization. The actual nature of the animal is ignored. Man’s treatment of animals very rarely includes showing respect for the other, upholding its independence and showing consideration –affectionate and disdainful cruelty is customary.

Alexandra Schlag

Photo Mummies– Hulls – Flies, Moths

This photographic work’s theme deals with dead animals. Three fundamentally different aspects of ‘death’ are shown. One depicts animals that have not died by fault of man, in the process of decomposition – pictures of moments of organic change. Another displays animals that have been purposefully killed – in this case, that were hunted in order to continue existing as collected and exhibited objects. The third group of pictures is of dead insects, the sight of which is only rarely associated with animal murder. Photo Mummies Photography presents the possibility of stopping the progression of decomposition, of freezing the cadaver, of conserving – and through which the dead animal can be shown respect. Hulls The pictures show artificially made durable skin (hides) kept in the storage of the Natural Historical Museum in Vienna – preserved for the eventual subsequent treatment (processing) into stuffed specimen. The pictures display the different animal species laid densely side by side – systematized and reduced to their matter. Flies, Moths Insect traps, sticky stripes as killing machinery – the necessity or the joy of killing. A documentation of the victims, of the frozen, desiccated bodies, slowly decomposing to dust. A battlefield of the war between man and animal. Through this view, through this form of documentation, the animals are given back the aura of the living – an essential motivation and fascination for the photographer.

(Alexandra Schlag)