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Constance Thalken

Artist Statement Submitted 2017

Eyes Open Slowly employs the prism of taxidermy to investigate the tangled and often paradoxical relationship between human and animal. Animals are naturally magnetic and taxidermy perpetuates our desire to experience the aura of animal presence by providing an intimate experience that is impossible in real life. The animal/object dichotomy can be unsettling and disorienting. We are in awe of what appears to be animal, yet the actual animal is gone. Death is inherent to taxidermy and so a sense of loss or grief is part of each encounter.

I have entered this world to explore animal essence and the emotional and psychological complexities that arise from reanimations of that essence. Eyes Open Slowly articulates animal beauty, speaks to human longings and desires, and grapples with our longing to connect to the natural world. At the same time, it questions our urge to possess and memorialize it through the act of killing.

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