The work was the result of time spent ruminating on the quiet animal presence in film and the treatment of the animal therein.
The project began with the shooting of a pheasant in murder mystery Gosford Park – the only death in the Moving series. Other moments are tinged with pathos: birds flit unnoticed through a Hollywood blockbuster, a boot is thrown at a cockerel, a dog has its legs pulled from under it to simulate a shooting, a horse struggles at the end of a rope and a cow is run over in a car chase. A camel, a kangaroo, an elephant and a giraffe make cameo appearances as magical props, solidified memories and imaginary beings.
Like Harper Lee’s mockingbird repeating its stolen repertoire, eleven tales are witnessed and played out continuously in pencil and paper. This archive of animal locomotion references Eadweard Muybridge’s eleven-volume work Animal Locomotion of 1887. Notable not only for his decision to include elephants and camels under the ‘domesticated animals’ heading along with pet dogs and cattle, Muybridge’s publication also features his studies of ‘wild animals’ displaying irregular walks and restricted movement symptomatic of their long confinement to pens. Whereas Muybridge was also willing to dissect his subjects in order to understand them, I observed them at a distance within the confines of time and film.
The subjects of the drawings in the Moving series are sourced from movies in the artist’s collection – a menagerie to study on a shelf; animals found in unexpected places. Some studies document silent suffering, humiliation and death, while others document triumph over adversity, dignity and the beauty of animal locomotion.