Double stilled

Joanna Musiał

2019 - 2020

Still - calm, motionless, photo/film frame,

Taxidermy is an art of stuffing and preservation the bodies of dead animals. From Greek (taxis arrange, prepare; derma skin) means literally laying, arranging skin, however taxidermy itself is not and never has been a pragmatic process of montage. Requires knowledge of anatomy, autopsy, and sculpting skills. Was created from the development and combination of various types of crafts - such as tanning, upholstery, saddlery, fur, and clothes making. So it’s a set of skills known to the people from ages, used to process (prepare) animal skins for various types of use. The only difference is that taxidermists developed their technique of preparing animal skins to create the appearance of life.

"Taxidermy, like photography, is a technology for making nature visible” Rachel Poliquin

This is how Rachel Poliquin writes about taxidermy in her book "The Breathless Zoo". Photography aims to capture moments - immortalize, keep forever, not only in memory but also in the image. Taxidermy goes one step further. It is a physical, spatial, realistic representation of something what was the part of life, made of real skins. There is no doubt, that what we are looking at existed. As in photography, with the difference that here, the appearance meets physical, 3D representation, creating cognitive dissonance. “Double stilled” says the above-mentioned author about the photographed “objects”. Photography enhances this effect, doubly quiet, calms down long dead „lively sculptures”. The appropriating medium of photography has a lot to do with taxidermy. Stuffing dead animals seems to be an escalation of the human need to control natures’ world, especially the animal's world. Just like photography, it aims to appropriate existing moment and reality.

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