24 September 2010

Neozoon Guerrilla Street Art is Food Fur Thought

Take a collective of female street artists, an opposition to the trade and wearing of fur, a glut of old discarded fur coats and what do you get?  One answer is Neozoon, a Paris/Berlin based group who create wall art using the unwanted articles of clothing to startling effect.

The collective began with simple silhouettes but quickly began exploring the possibilities presented by creating their art in three dimensions.  Place them on walls, trees and generally in front of the faces of the human population of urban environments and a juxtaposition, not without irony or humor, emerges.

The irony, of course, is that the animals whence came this fur are long dead, but revivify in the form of this art – and generally it could be said that they seem to be having a lot more fun than the human denizens of these urban jungles.

One of the finer purposes of art is to encourage and stimulate thought around issues. Those against fur had their heyday (one could say) in the recruitment of various supermodels to the cause but that day has gone, with some of the models turning their back on their former principles.  As ideas can be discarded, so can clothing and the Neozoon work makes a singular point about how we relate to and treat other species.

Yet other ideas, bathed in the warm waters of imagination, can take hold, flourish and evolve.  Neozoon’s initial project took the shapes of animals and juxtaposed them against urban landscapes with the old fur the final touch.  Berlin has as its symbol the bear – and so the German capital had its own ursine visitation.  Everywhere, animals leap, bound - and sometimes collide.

Paris has its old slaughterhouse near Parc de la Villette, so lambs took to congregating around it, perhaps in silent vigil for their murdered forbears.  That these pelts were once living and breathing adds to the provocation of thought that the art demands. The old Ostral abattoir in Dresden has its own black sheep too.

BAH BAH BLACKSHEEP from Neozoon Collective on Vimeo.

Then came a new species – Pellicusia urbana, otherwise known as the non-toed fur-coatie.  Evolution is not necessarily confined to living species.

The addition of moving machinery within the pelts gives an eerie impression of a living being.

They are missing vital body parts (such as their non toes) and these creatures make their appearances near parks and playgrounds, occasionally with accompanying signs.  Of course, before they can be seen in public, some intense rehabilitation and group therapy is needed first...

Neozoon’s work is simultaneously witty, sometimes comical but always eye-catching.  Yet added to this is an unease that this art is produced from the pelts skinned from dead animals which were killed for that one and only reason.   It makes people think and as Emerson once said, the ancestor of every action is a thought.  And thought is liberating.

Kuriositas would like to thank Urbanartcore.eu for their kind permission to reproduce their images here.  However, we would especially like to thank the Neozoon Collective for allowing us to use their photographs and videos in this piece.  Please visit their website for more information on their projects.