This is the artist statement I wrote for Zoologia Fantastica, a dual show I did with the extremely talented artist, Linki Lutz.
This exhibition is a collection of works sprouting from two playful minds. It is a miscellaneous menagerie of imaginary beings, captured in the form of drawings. The idea behind this exhibition is very straight forward: It is a space for imaginative interplay and flight of fancy. In a world where most of our actions are dictated by logical thought and considerations of practicality, a form of escape is vital to one’s wellbeing. It is Linki Lutz and David Griessel’s hope that these vignettes into another world may provide a sense of temporary escape and suspension from reality.
The title of the exhibition, ‘Zoología Fantástica’, is a reference to the Argentinian Surrealist writer Jorge Louis Borges. Borges has reached a point of almost mythical grandeur in the literary world and is often cited by imminent critics as one of the greatest figures of 20th century literature. While there is no denying his genius, one must not forget that at the core he (and most of the great artists and writers in history) was a playful spirit, spinning yarns and speculating about realities other than the one we are in. It is in this spirit of ‘serious’ play that our exhibition was conceived.
Manual de zoología fantástica or Book of Imaginary Beings was a compendium written by Borges in 1957 which catalogues in a playful pseudo-scientific manner a vast collection of mythical creatures. A lot has been said about this book of curiosity and wonder, but what is pertinent to this exhibition and the ethos behind the creation of the works on display is a open-mindedness to the imaginary and the belief that it is important to spend a lot of hours and energy creating worlds and beings that do not have any practical face value.
In summation this exhibition is a spontaneous act of playful creation. Not too much thought has been put into how exactly the works will function together and we hope to create interesting new constellations by juxtaposing our work together, thus creating a kind of ‘play circle’ where our flights of fancy cavort around in this dream-zoo of the imaginary and fantastical.
Regarding Manuel Zoologia Fanatsica, Borges states that the book is to be read "as with all miscellanies... not... straight through... Rather we would like the reader to dip into the pages at random, just as one plays with the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope" This sentence in the book’s preface captures the manner in which we approached this exhibition and also the way in which the observer is encouraged to participate in it.