Eating a Bird, 2008

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Eating a Bird

"Animal sacrifices were often featured in myths of goddesses and high priestesses, though in Victorian Art goddesses such as Circe, Venus, Diana, Andromeda were seldom depicted as other than still, passive and erotically charged. Eating a Bird transforms the ritualised act into one of wilful and wild consumption, and revives the idea of the goddess as a woman with power." By Nigel Walsh, Curator Leeds City Art Gallery

"In Powers of Horror (1982) feminist philosopher Julia Kristeva posits abjection as that which ‘disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the ambiguous, the composite.’ Abjection can be identified as our reaction (horror, vomit) to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other, human and animal, for which she cites a number of specific examples. She notes that ‘food loathing is perhaps the most elementary and most archaic form of abjection’ in which the ‘I’ cathects itself and reaches the very border of its ontological existence. In her short film Eating a Bird, one watches with fascination and revulsion (or unheimlich Schadenfreude), as Rikke Lundgreen almost imperceptibly eats a dainty but fully feathered dead bird that she has found in an indeterminate wooded glade. Taking her visual cue from a number of art historical sources including Atkinson Grimshaw’s Dead Linnet (1862-63) and John Inchbold’s two paintings, At Bolton (The White Doe of Rylstone) (1855) and Stonehenge (1866-1872), Lundgreen interrogates the rituals and myths associated with pagan spirituality as they collide and interfere with the brutal materiality or abjection of death. In Lundgreen’s melded reworking of Victorian, pagan and classical sources, the beautiful enchantress ingests the sacrificial gift of a dead bird, as proper to her immortal status, yet the result for the viewer is unexpected." By Dorothy Rowe from "Of Mimesis, Magic and Metamorphosis"

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