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Ana Gutieszca - Derrida's Bestiary

United Juins, 23.5-20.6.2013

United Juins creatives is a new collaboration between fashion designer Aki Luomanpää, artist Ana Gutieszca, and creative designer Nikodeemus Toukola. Derrida’s Bestiary is the first art exhibition, as far as I know. Gutieszca has a weakness for animals. With extreme precision she draws animals of all sorts, a roaring lion, a tied up goat, mating grasshoppers. In this exhibition all drawings are the same size, only 20 by 20 centimeters, and made with pencil. Sometimes the animals are floating in a white nothingness, not unlike scientific drawings in biology books, and sometimes they rest firmly on the ground, or you only get a hint of the ground being there. This is the case with the picture of a dog, where the dog casts a shadow. Why then this partiality for animals? The artist once told me that most artists choose to draw and paint people or landscapes, but seldom animals. This might be true in contemporary art, but many famous artists have painted and drawn animals. da Vinci, Dürer and Rembrandt depicted animals, and later George Stubbs, Franz Marc and Picasso studied animals through drawings and paintings. Not to forget the von Wright brothers and Jussi Mäntynens sculptures here in Finland. Animals are somehow different as motives, from humans or objects. They are alive, as are plants, but they differ from plants because they interact with and react to you. They are conscious but somehow unreachable.


Derrida's Bestiary, graphite on paper, 2012

This particular series was made to illustrate Federico Balestra’s book Goat song: Jacques Derrida, a Philosophic Bestiary. The book studies Derrida’s writings concerning the significant philosophical problem of animals; the specific difference between animals and non human animals, the history of machine animals, the limits between culture and nature, the history of domestication. Balestra asks how animals affect philosophy. What kind of philosophy would a philosophy based on animals be? He claims that animals affect philosophy and philosophy is affected by animals. I tend to agree. How often have you not wondered about your cat’s consciousness and self awareness? Animals are so much like us, as we are also animals, but yet so terribly unreachable. Domesticated animals tend to give symptoms for the problems in their family. Does that mean that they now of the problems, or is it just an instinctual reaction?


Derrida's Bestiary, graphite on paper, 2012

The animals in Gutieszca’s drawings are also unreachable. In a state of perfection, more real than life itself, they are present yet untouchable. Real and unreal at the same time. At some point I thought that the drawings would fit as illustrations for a childrens book, but looking at them for a while, there seem to be something dark hanging over them. Though these are kinder pictures than the ones in, for example, Gutieszcas Gora series, they still have a tension to them. That tension you get just before an outburst of movement, or a feeling of lurking danger. All of the drawings belonging to the series Derrida’s Bestiary are not present in the exhibition, as some of them are exhibited in Hong Kong. The small drawings do, however, fill the gallery space perfectly, and a cut in the series would have been necessary either way. Though not revolutionary, this is a beautiful exhibition by a very talented artist, and I recommend you go see it while it lasts!


Pictures from the exhibition, and series with the same name, Derrida's Bestiary

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