02 May 2011

Untitled (Portraits)

Untitled (Portraits)
March 2011, diptych and performance

Commissioned for the exhibition, Risk Assessment, at The Viewtube, East London.

Between 18.00 and 20.00 hrs on Thursday 3rd March 2011, a live 9 ft albino python was present in the gallery. Visitors were permitted to hold or interact with the animal and have their photograph taken (if they provide a camera/camera phone)*

Semi- autobiographical, Untitled (Portrait) investigates the artist’s relationships with her family and emotions evoked when our loved ones may be in a dangerous situation.Two small, loaned, photographs depict relatives of the artist posing on separate occasions with dangerous animals on ‘family outings’.                  
The artist's brother is pictured in 2001 on holiday adorned with two large snakes, and the artist’s grandmother and cousin are shown 'petting' an adult tiger at an animal sanctuary in Thailand in 2008.
This photograph is kept in her grandmother's handbag as a proud trophy of her achievement and bravery. 

Alongside these two images is presented a risk assessment for the performance described in italics above.

Influenced by works such as Huang Yong Ping’s Theater of the World (1993), and Beuys’ I like America and America Likes me, Untitled (Portraits) explores the potential neutralization of danger of a wild animal in an artificial or staged environment. 
By placing a live python in the galley space, it questions both the union between the natural kingdom and the realm of artificiality, and our human desire to portray ourselves in control of situations with dangerous or exotic animals.

*the above performance did not take place as the python attacked the handler before arriving at the gallery and through risk assessment, the situation was deemed unsafe. This work is an ongoing series.

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