The Animal Within

Creatures in (and outside) the mumok Collection (Vienna)


An intriguing exploration of animal motifs and their multifarious interpretations in contemporary art.


ISBN: 9783753303239 Category:


Visual art and its fascination with animals (in the form of pets, zoo animals, farm animals, stuffed animals, along with projections of wildness) prepare the ground to reflect on the nature of sex, hunger, and affection, as well as on family and gender relations, socialization and domestication, and, not least, on the enduring impact of colonial history. Put another way: The Animal Within uses the popular appeal of animals to negotiate structures of violence and domination. Who eats whom? Who skins whom? Who leads whom on a leash? Who gives whom a name? But also: Why are children’s playpens populated by so many cute stuffed animals? What purpose do aquariums, birdcages, and exotic trinkets serve in the bourgeois living room? And what makes animal skins such a popular fetish in expressions of sexuality and fashion? The exhibition is thus less about animals than about bodies, moving or still, reclining or standing, crouching or crawling. The animal as a motif serves as a starting point for arriving at a materialist understanding of art and life, and not in a figurative sense-it is astonishing how prominently bones, skins, hides, and feathers feature in the visual arts of the last hundred years.

Artists: Lothar Baumgarten, Joseph Beuys, Linda Bilda, Helen Chadwick, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis/Franz Singer, VALIE EXPORT, Öyvind Fahlström, Heinz Frank, Gloria Friedmann, Nancy Graves, Karel Havlicek, Jann Haworth, Candida Höfer, Ull Hohn, Anna Jermolaewa, Isolde Maria Joham, Gülsün Karamustafa, Alfred Klinkan, Dominique Knowles, Tetsumi Kudo, Maria Lassnig, Otto Muehl, Herrmann Nitsch, Oswald Oberhuber, Madame d’Ora (Dora Kallmus), Gina Pane, Pino Pascali, Germaine Richier, Susan Rothenberg, Erica Rutherford, Chéri Samba, Cagnaccio di San Pietro, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Daniel Spoerri, Ursula et al.

Additional information

Weight 1406 g
Dimensions 21.4 x 29.8 cm
Publisher name Walther & Franz König
Publication date 13 April 2023
Number of pages
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Manuela Ammer and Ulrike Müller, Text by Fahim Amir, Jack Halberstam, Eva Hayward, Johanna Hedva, Bhanu Kapil, Joni Murphy, Kathryn Scanlan, Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, Kerstin Stakemeier, Oxana Timofeeva, Tanya Zamirovskaya, Manuela Ammer, Ulrike Müller, and Jörg Wolfert
Dimensions 21.4 x 29.8 cm
Weight 1406 g


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