They are not Dead They are Drunk
Neon and Faux Furr Installation
Sullivan Galleries - Chicago 2012
They are not Dead They are Drunk consist of a small room covered up entirely with white faux fur. Lying and resting against the fur are four green neon pieces that emulate dead rabbits. A subtle vanilla sugar smell lingers in the space.
The title of this piece is an attempt to save the dead game in vanitas paintings by Flemish artists since the four bunnies are silhouettes taken from four different paintings. The vulnerable animal becomes even more vulnerable in an inebriated state, and though it seems dead its still alive, a state relatable to for those who have abused alcohol in an attempt to manage life. . The animals are dead or drunk yet in their putrefaction they smell like vanilla sugar in an abuse of their cuteness (where they burp sweet smells while drunk).
This piece is strongly related to art history and inner helplessness. The green color is a direct citation of artist Eduardo Kac’s genetically modified bunny, Alba, meant as a reflection on the use of life in history and the present.
The white fur references that of the rabbits. However, the skin in the installation is disembodied. The fur can be touched but the bunnies themselves can’t be pet since are made of glass; a material that has rendered the drunken animals unattractive to the sense of touch. The white fur is meant to be experienced with both hands and feet. Given the position of the neons on the floor, the shadows on the fur are contrasted and change accordingly to those who touch it. The vision of the fur calls upon touch and stroking the fur has a calming effect.
The combination of white fur, green light and vanilla sugar smell create an eerie yet comfortable warm space. There is something macabre and ridiculous about this installation. The title is a cruel joke that attempts to save the bunnies by shielding the viewer from their visible death.
Snyders Dead Game (with rabbit)
Simeon Chardin Rabbit
Jan Fyt Rabbit
De Hondecoeter Rabbit
View from outside the box while installing