press release

Menagerie. An Animal Show from the Würth Collection
Forum Würth Rorschach

We go to the dogs, cry crocodile tears, are poor as church mice or wolves in sheep's clothing, and move at a snail's pace. As the richness of our verbal bestiary suggests, for centuries literature and art have faced the creative challenge of imagining and describing the mysterious relationship between human beings and animals, the special state between proximity and distance, familiarity and strangeness, striking similarity and absolute difference in which they exist. Our idea of the character of animals has changed from epoch to epoch. Yet the clearer our scientifically proven relationship with animals becomes, the more skeptical some grow with respect to a natural hierarchy of species and the more concern themselves with ethical issues, such as animal rights or the dignity of animals. So our notions of animals are fluid, and as we settle down in everyday life between fixing a hotdog and walking the dog, artists show us animals from often highly unusual points of view. What fascinates them about animals are their veritably inexhaustible richness of form and, not rarely, an astonishing mysterious- ness. Hence mythological figures, creatures from fable and fairy tale, like dragons, sphinxes, Medusas, chimeras and minotaurs are as much a part of the menagerie as cows, sheep, horses, dogs, cats, birds, or tigers. Some graze properly in the fields; others rebel against their role, occupying computers like Flanagan's rabbit thinker, practicing the Kamasutra like Ungerer’s frogs or let us feel the threat they embody when we look into the eyes of Robert Longo’s tiger.

“Menagerie – An Animal Show from the Würth Collection” is a pleasure for the entire family. Then, too, we have something to learn from all these animals. Haven't humans, sly foxes that we are, always seen ourselves at the top of the heap?

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Swiridoff Verlag.