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Art critic: I find this piece mildly disturbing. Was that intentional?
Artist: Not straight away. It started as a communion of beasts. They are free, yet choosing to be a part of something more formal. Perhaps like a group of mentally disturbed patients holding a dinner party.
But halfway through I sensed a resistance from the materials and by the end I felt this incredible anger towards Regents Park Zoo.
Maybe they don’t want to be lined up and made to march in this way, you know?
Art critic: Yes, I felt that.
Artist: Also most of them are walking forwards. They’ve been conned into their destinies.
But some are looking back. They question the animals that follow them:
‘Where are you going? Have you even thought about that, you conformist rhinoceros?’
The oppressors have turned the oppressed against each other and that’s just not right.
Art critic: You’ve really played with that man/beast tension in the title. It’s powerful.
Artist: Good. You get it.
Art critic: I wonder if we’re supposed to ignore the grotesque anomaly in the bottom right, precisely because it fits so uneasily?
Artist: Well, I can’t tell you how you should interact with that but it’s an interesting perspective.
It’s true, he represents the fetishized manifestation of man ogling animal and turning him into entertainment.
The roller skates are a vulgar expression of just how far we are intent on projecting our greed for leisure pursuits on innocent sentient forms.
The way he’s inviting us in with that heartbreaking open gesture… It’s us that’s being mocked here, let’s not fool ourselves.
Art critic: It isn’t a set of mini wild animals from the Early Learning Centre, with the Cookie Monster stuck in the middle, for a laugh, is it?
Artist: No, it isn’t.