Writing in response to fine art taxidermy

Susannah Gent is a filmmaker working in fine art taxidermy.  She has recently completed a residency at Bank Street Arts, and Bank Street is hosting an exhibition to celebrate.  The exhibition includes a series of heads working with the concept of the uncanny.  There is also a more traditional view of taxidermy, and a wonderful film of Susannah working on a fox.

In her own words, she is “preserving and arranging animal & bird skins and exploring the craft of taxidermy whilst re-contextualising the traditional focus. Traditional taxidermy attempts to preserve the image or essence of life in an animal. In my work I present the dead. I don’t believe this is a morbid fascination with death, more a fascination with the material – mammalian skin & bone – the material we are made of. The process always involves an incredibly intimate biological investigation. I see what I do as working with recycled material. My sources are road kill and the bi-product of the food chain. There is great potency in the raw material itself and this takes precedent in the work … why throw something away when you could make art out of it…? We might learn something.”

Susannah has been generous enough to let me invite writers to go in and write in response to her exhibition.  I am asking people to write prose or poetry in one or both of two ways:

  • A strictly ekphrastic response, so working purely with description, and using whatever form best articulates that description of the artwork.
  • A more interpretive response, using the artwork as a springboard for ideas, whether they are narrative driven, thematic, mimetic, something other, or something in between.

Please feel free to take part in this project.  The writing will be sent to artists who have not seen the exhibition. They will be asked to create something in their own medium purely in response to the written text.  We’re hoping to turn this around quite quickly, so there is no time to lose.

Send your work to me at angelina.ayers@gmail.com

I will keep you informed about whether your work is being used in the exhibit.  Texts may be published in print or online, but of course, copyright remains with the author.

Bank Street Arts Centre is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm and the exhibit is now running.  There will be a party to celebrate its opening on Friday evening, 7pm. www.bankstreetarts.com

Please pass this on to anyone you think may be interested.

Thank you!


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