What determines our idea of ​​fine art

wild / beautiful

The relationship between humans and animals is as old as humanity itself and couldn't be more ambivalent. Awe and loving care, existential dependence, fear and killing determine the relationship. A peaceful coexistence seems to be possible only through domestication.

Pictures of animals have been around since man's ancestors began drawing on cave walls. Animals are ascribed human characteristics, dogs and cats are protagonists in wise fables, fairy tales and great literature, in films and games. Beloved pets are being pampered as species extinction continues and wreaks havoc across the globe. More and more people stand up against mass and species-appropriate husbandry, but the price still rules in the supermarket. Exotic wild animals are coveted trophies and status symbols. But we often don't know the names of the insects and birds in our own garden.

The animal is a central motif in art history. No other topic seems better suited to exploring the self-image of being human. From drawing and painting to sculpture to photography, video and installation, the exhibition presents a wide range of forms of representation. Based on its own collection and supplemented by important loans, the exhibition shows more than 120 depictions of animals from the 20th and 21st centuries, which provide stimulating, surprising and entertaining information about the multifaceted relationship between humans and animals.

Image: Martin Eder, I sold my devil to the soul (detail), 2018, Ö / L., Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig / Berlin, Photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021