Montoro12 Gallery is proud to present Animal Power!, a group exhibition of nine international artists – many exhibiting in Brussels for the first time – exploring non-human animals in fascinating works comprising installation, video, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and textile art.
In recent years there has been a great profusion of scholarly writing in the interdisciplinary field of animal studies (animals as sentient beings, the moral status of animals, animal rights etc.) as well as a changing view on animals in general – from considering animals merely as objects for entertainment, food, or other (in)human use to an interest in new discoveries scientists and ethologists constantly make about the mental and emotional capacities of animals. Just as we cannot live without nature on this earth, we cannot live without animals (e.g. bees!) and our (ab)use of animals in intensive farming greatly contributes to pollution, global warming, pandemics and other problems.
Many artists today are also exploring animals from a different perspective. Hanien Conradie’s (South Africa) yellow and red ochre and chalk paintings on black slate give us a glimpse into the wildlife of Towerland Wilderness in the Southern Cape, South Africa. Gustafsson and Haapoja’s(Finland / NYC) haunting installation “Waiting Room” takes up the entire ground floor of the gallery, confronting the viewer with the mortality of all beings. Kate Javens’ (NYC) powerful paintings show single animals that represent important social figures in the US, but at the same time express the power and dignity of strong individuals more generally. Hartmut Kiewert (Germany) is known for his utopian paintings of picnics shared by human and non-human animals, pointing to an (ideal) vegan future. Mass farming and animal food production companies crumble and are replaced by hopeful and paradisiacal scenes showing free animals and interspecies relationships between human and non-human animals. Maximilian Prüfer (Germany) works predominantly with insects and aims to dissolve the separation between man and animal. In this exhibition he presents works from the series “Naturantypies,” which focus on the behavioral patterns of ants and their collective intelligence – it is in fact the ants that trace an image on the paper. ROA (Belgium),who is best known as a muralist depicting animals all over the world, has created a set of new sculptures for this exhibition. Wade Schumann (NYC), who is also a well-known musician, stuns with his large, evocative colored drawings of wild animals. Vanessa von Zitzewitz’s (Germany, lives in Monte Carlo) amazing photographs of Arabian horses from the famous Al Shaqab’s stables in Doha include a portrait of Marwan Al Shaqab, the highest ranked stallion in the world, as well as an “underwater horse” seen swimming (von Zitzewitz used underwater photography) and another one “praying” – in all of them von Zitzewitz succeeds in capturing the Arabians’ powerful and graceful bodies and their unique, proud personalities. Janice Wright Cheney (Canada) explores the notion of rewilding and studies both flora and fauna in its original environment. Animals seem out of place on a gallery floor but make visitors contemplate their alienation from the wild.
While all these artists have very different approaches, their common ground is a deep respect for and appreciation of the animal world. Many of them seem to agree that it is time that we learn to listen to animals and develop interspecies relationships and communication beyond our domestic and domesticated animals. This exhibition wants to give a tiny glimpse into a world to be explored,the world of all non-human animals — beyond anthropocentrism.
We are thrilled that most of the artists will be present at the opening and during Brussels Gallery Weekend!