Animals have been part of artistic expression since time immemorial. From the Palaeolithic age to the present day, animals have always accompanied man’s aesthetic conceptions and representations of the world. From the holy ibis of pharaonic Egypt to the winged companions of Saint Francis of Assisi to Brancusi’s The Cock, birds have always occupied a privileged position among the artistic forms inspired by the animal kingdom, as they do in that kingdom itself. The animalisation of artistic expression represents both a tribute and a strategy, with the bird playing a role that is both cognitive and symbolic. Watching it live, appropriating its images or its feathers, man works out his own position among living beings, while consolidating his dominion.
The use of the bird figure by contemporary artists is like contemporary art itself: diverse, diffracted, multiform and open. Far from the traditional stereotypes of freedom, lightness, travel or romanticism associated with the bird, it now serves contemporary artists’ more general ambition to probe the essence of life, whether biological, ecological or political. And not to forget the music…
With videos by
Gino DE DOMINICIS,
Léa LE BRICOMTE,