SELF-STYLED ‘controversial’ artist has caused
outrage amongst animal lovers around the world with well-publicised
exhibitions of her ‘art’ – photographs
and sculptures of recently killed pet animals.
Stockholm-based Nathalia Edenmont, 33, is the artist who wants to ‘provoke feelings’. Leading galleries in the world's major cities are now clamouring for her ‘art’ – although they may harvest a huge backlash from the pet owning public as Edemont’s subjects include rabbits, mice and cats that she herself has euthanased.
"It is such double standards -which rabbit should you pet and which one should you eat?" Edenmont told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, proudly showing off her works which include a rabbit head decorated with a white wig as a decanter top, five mouse heads on the fingers of a hand provokes strong feelings… and makes ‘art connoisseurs’ open their wallets. In London a photo the size of one square metre sold for around £20,000. "The price will probably double now", she says.
Recently she exhibited in London. Now Los Angeles, New York, Berlin, Basel, Moscow, Gothenburg and Stockholm are next in turn for her photo exhibition "Still Life".
Edenmont kills the animals herself, but justifies her actions as a mans to show the double standards human beings have to animals: "Animals mean as much to me as to you; animals are on our dinner table, we eat animals, we keep pets," she gushes. "My art is really about people, and that is why I use pets. It is such double standards -the rabbit is both a pet and a dinner. How do you separate that?
"When I walk into a pet shop I ask 'Where is that rabbit that was in here yesterday?' and am told it inside the freezer. As the shop staff had it put to sleep as they did not have enough space for it and it will now be sold as snake food. ‘I then ask how they select which rabbit to kill and which will be allowed to live. They say: 'We picked the less cuddly one'. "
Nathalia Edenmont wants to show, through her art, what can happen to humanity if we do not care about one another. "I am from the Ukraine in the old Soviet Union. My country is on the surface a very cruel one with lots of criminality. But deep down the people are very kind; they invite other people to their homes, they ask how you are and they really want to hear the reply. In Sweden, where I live now, the opposite is true -on the surface it is pretty, warm and friendly, but it is cold inside. Just like my pictures which are pretty on the surface but cruel underneath."
Asked if she kills the animals herself, Edenmont says "Yes, I do it in my studio, in a humane way, but I am not prepared to discuss how."
Naturally, Edenmont’s attitude has provoked outrage amongst animal lovers – not least those in Sweden, many of whom have launched a campaign via the Internet calling upon pet owners to complain to the Swedish Embassy in their own countries.
Well-known dog rescuer Anne Finch of Greyhounds In Need has been circulating details of the campaign via her own website.
Ms Finch commented: "The campaign and photos of this woman’s work have to be passed around to protest against this so-called artistic display in Stockholm of deliberate killings and displays of bits of animals for the sake of fun, financial gain and prestige.
"Sadly it goes against everything that I have been saying in our newsletters and on our website about Sweden and its view and respect of animals, and for this I apologise.
"Sweden may acknowledge freedom, but sick necrophilia and killings of defenceless little animals for the sake of fame, is freedom at the expense of mutilation and ghoulishness and I see no way that this can stand aside the Nobel prize museum in Stockholm which stands for a different ideal. What a pity to spoil Sweden with one sick woman! If we could ask members of the Swedish Embassy if they could do what she did, I think they would be near vomiting."
Readers are asked to send their protests to the Wetterling
gallery where the exhibition of Edenmont’s work is
Letters of protest may be sent to:
Embassy of Sweden
11 Montagu Place
London W1H 2AL
Phone: 020 7917 6400
Fax: 020 7917 6475
lThe original news article in the Expressen newspaper may be viewed at: www.expressen.se/expressen/jsp
(The article is in Swedish but the photograph ‘Still Life’ speaks for itself).