From high-concept shops to cocktail bars: every style-conscious place these days displays a mounted fox or peacock in the window. Taxidermy, the mounting of dead animals, is hot. But what happens when you apply taxidermy to contemporary jewellery design? In the exhibition Beauty of the Beast Museum Arnhem presents the work of more than 15 international designers and artists who make a connection between taxidermy, jewellery and visual arts. The exhibition presents, on the one hand, wearable jewellery and fashion accessories such as necklaces, brooches, bags, hats, hair ornaments and shoes. But it also includes more sculptural and autonomous work.
The often complex relationship between humans and animals lies at the heart of the works of the participating artists. For many of the artists the beauty of the animal forms the starting point of the work, but other themes such as impermanence, the border between fantasy and reality, the meat industry, ‘memento mori’, environmental issues, fables and symbols come into play as well. What the artists share is a love for nature. The animals that they use in their work are often ‘roadkill’ or were killed because they are perceived as pests.
The Arnhem designer Lenneke Wispelwey designed the exhibition. She is well-known for her ceramics in pastel colours with strong, geometric shapes.