The prolonged human fascination held with animals is constantly seen within the art world. Alongside Turley’s work, we look at just a few other examples of artists intrigued by our interaction and relationship with animals:
An artist-filmmaker and academic, Warnell’s practice is focused on exploring animality, cinemality and criminality using film, text and philosophy. His film Ming of Harlem: Twenty one Storeys in the Air explores the story of a five hundred pound tiger living in a New York apartment with a man, seven-foot alligator and house cat.
A prominent and significant theme running deep within Turley’s practice is the relationship between the animal and the self. Contemplating Zane, we have collated a list of films inspired by the intimate connections often experienced between humans and wild, untamed animals.
Tropical Malady (2004)
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Split into two parts, Tropical Malady charts the unusual relationship between two men. Set in Thailand the film moves from urban cityscape to the tropical unknown of the jungle. In the jungle, the men encounter a wild tiger, evoking and freeing the primal instinct we intrinsically possess as humans.
Looking at Zane….
The formidable gaze of Zane, an Amur Leopard filmed at Edinburgh Zoo, follows us around the white cube space, vying for our attention amongst the other works. Our eyes are drawn into an encounter with an animal trapped in a never-ending loop.
PANTHERA PARDUS ORIENTALIS
Classed as a critically endangered animal by the WWF, with only 70 left in the wild, the Amur Leopard is found in the far-east of Russia and north-east China, in an area smaller than Dorset. Not only are they at risk from climate change, they are also sadly hunted for their beautiful fur coats as well as their bones, used in traditional medicines in Asia.
Graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2013, Isobel Turley’s primary focus within her practice sits in the complex and powerful relationships formed between contemporary art and animal conservation.
Zane (2013), produced for Turley’s Fine Art degree show, is a 2 second close recording of the endangered Amur Leopard, now so rarely found in its wild, natural habitat. Played on a continual loop, the work presents an inexhaustible and intense gaze of an animal, seldom captured on film.
For Between poles and tides, the video has been screened on a wall, high above the gallery floor, dominating the impenetrable, vacant space and linking the two floors with its all encompassing gaze and accompanying audio. Drawing on Turley’s art historical curiosities; far eastern churches and palaces, she recorded and preserved the everyday sounds of the historical and antiquated, St Giles Cathedral to accompany the video clip, expanding the dramatic power of Zane (2013).
Turley’s visual artworks force viewers to engage with rare and often endangered species, forming emotive and evocative relationships between the animal and the self.
Lauren Hawkins, Talbot Rice Gallery Intern