Taxidermy: Art, or Creepy Desk Lamp?

Today I was introduced to some works by Polly Morgan. A Brit born and raised, now based out of London. Still new to the European art scene, she has been steadily progressing in her chosen medium since 2005. Taught by Scottish taxidermist George C. Jamieson, Morgan has taken the dust and old people smell out of the taxidermy world and introduced the scent of rotting flesh to the rest of us. She tends to use smaller animals, i.e. rabbits or birds, and places them ever so elegantly in unlikely situations. This causes the viewer to think of both the animal and the scene in which it’s depicted in an entirely new fashion.

Polly Morgan’s work has been featured in galleries and publications all over the world, including Juxtapoz, TIME, and Harper’s Bazaar.  You can new tab over to her website, being ever mindful to not close the Crossing tab, to check out all of her works as well as regularly updated showing schedules. In case you don’t care enough or don’t know the keyboard shortcut for new tab for some reason, you’ll find a few of my favorites below.

One of her more recent works is also one of the largest. “DEPARTURES,” with dimensions of :

h: 400 x w: 250 x d: 250 cm / h: 157.5 x w: 98.4 x d: 98.4 in

is definitely something that it seems might have been able to actually hold its own. If not,  it’s heavy enough to ensure after slamming to the earth you won’t remember a damn thing.

Delving deep into an old Victorian notion of using birds to help us travel, Morgan has rebuilt an anonymous inventor’s plans and put her own spin on them. Using brass, leather, and the obvious perfectly-stuffed birds of prey, Morgan has managed to rekindle the wild and whimsical theories of the great days of yor and share them with her modern viewer. We as a race have harnessed most animals to work for us at some point in history, but I can only think of a few times using birds.  Other than those awesome World War II letter carrying pigeons, or the ones with tiny cameras strapped to their chest for reconnaissance. Thinking about it, one could imagine how strapping a pelican to your back or tying 100 finches to your chair might seem logical.

The original showing was held last October; however, this mighty contraption will be shown again as part of a collection by Thomas Olbricht, whom I believe assisted on the project, in April of this year in Berlin. You can check out a little interview with Polly Morgan about “DEPARTURES” at the opening of the first showing.  You can also take a look at the photo below:

All in all, Polly has been a very busy girl these past few years, and she doesn’t show any sings of dying down, unlike her pets.  Hopefully, she will find her way over to the States sometime soon and we can take at look at things first hand.  Until then we will just have to sit at our computers wondering how, if ever, crows can take phone calls.

Patiently waiting,

Brandon

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  1. wow. how cool that is

    • rami izadyar
    • March 7th, 2010

    my first reaction was “how creepy” but her work is so well done, it is so carefully staged and composed. The compositions are beautiful, just beautiful. Her work is suspended somewhere between reality and fairy tale.
    thanks for sharing

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