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The Wellbeing of Mankind: An Animal Rights Exhibit
By Beryl Furman, 16 Nov 2008, Kauniainen, Finland
In my latest exhibition I wanted to work as an artist and also deal with earthly suffering, especially, suffering of animals.
My artistic ambition was in energy, as an opposite to harmony, which I have impressed in my earlier production. I also wanted the expression to be neurotic, hysteric, fragmented, commercial, industrial and cruel. They all belong to today’s world.
Instead of using only abstractions I had also clear figures to tell what it is all about. I wanted to give a painful feeling to the visitor – which I also achieved. I wanted to give them a faint of that enormous pain animals live in through all their lives and just because of us.
By showing animals I turn the focus on us, humans. I say in my text: Every suffering animal is our self portrait. (meaning unnatural suffering). We put poisonous needles in their eyes, we trap them, we put them in cages! And what have they done to deserve this? They have no interests in us. They would have a fine life, if we would not be around.
I have used aluminum as a painting ground for two reasons. One is, because metal is the most unnatural and unsuitable element for animals and where they are forced to live. Secondly, I wanted to create an industrial expression. For this reason I used only industrial - even fluorescent - paint in my works.
As an exception to this I used Japanese paper and Chinese ink in the work Three Landscapes from Asia.
By making art out of web addresses I depict many conceptual things about modern life. We live more and more through them. They are part of our visual life. They show us the truth about things that the societies hide. (Of course they often show virtual realty!). They contain more reality than our artificial urban surroundings.
Reality means things that our existence is built up from. Most people have a very superficial idea of reality, and this must be changed. Most people would not want that kind of reality, that producers have made for them.
Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? indicates to Gauguin’s work with the same title. It is about the same size, 120 x 400 cm, and the colours in the text refer to those he had used in this famous philosophical landscape from Tahiti inhabited by people.
Yet my painting deals with animals in the fur farms. I wish to indicate philosophy in questioning animals existence, because they also have a mind; also they strive to well being, also they have many things to solve during their life, though not as complicated as us. They are not empty shells, numerical productions, although we treat them that way.
In Gauguin’s painting the colours are warm and bright, but the animals’ landscape is all black. All we see is their fearful eyes watching us in despair and pain, for all their time while alive.
The very first work by the entrance called Green tea refers to the exhibition which was taking place in the museum, where Aarni Gallery is situated. It dealt with Chinese tea-culture. Of course what they showed was very sophisticated. I wanted to remind, what kind of barbarism lies beneath it. Scalded animals belong to Chinese heritage and have today grown into industry. Scalding foxes, dogs, cats and other animals is very common in china, as well as drinking green tea.
Factum probandum, matters to be proved, is a kind of self portrait. It shows my black heart – it is totally black! – and the reality, that has tainted it black. The reality is seen from the web addresses.
Art rewards only those who take it seriously, which means, those who bother to go the given addresses. (The list of works also included the addresses in order to take them home).
Global landscape is simply a landscape with bombs as black clouds and coins as flowers.
The chicken slaughter line is thought of by most people in the same way one would think of a coat rack, but the reality is filled with fear and pain.
All these things either created our well being or are the result of it. Can we be proud of us?
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