Gao Lei (高磊), A102, 2009 [version 1 of 2] - interior of photo light box (see below), 30x30x45cm.
I have not been able to find very much about Gao’s work in English. This exhibit press release on two earlier photographic series (simplified Chinese | English translation) talks about his use of fabricated animals and other display objects from an abandoned museum of natural history. That seems to be the provenance of the giraffe and leopard here. Giraffes feature in the earlier work, too. They seem to be favorite characters.
The leopard - perhaps because of the prehensile tension in its tail, or its direct gaze at the camera - struck me for a moment as potentially real. Silly as it sounds, I found myself needing some kind of description, some kind of external “proof” that it wasn’t. Or perhaps the illusion of liveness comes from the cage - from the inherent uncanniness of animals in captivity, of “unhomely” animals in the Freudian sense.
I’ll also be posting from a related series of paintings by Gao. Stay tuned…