- Category: Culture
- Created: 17 May 2012
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Polly Morgan is the UK's most famous contemporary taxidermist and one of the most collectable artists of her generation. As part of Light Night, she will be appearing at The Victoria Gallery and Museum with a live demonstration of taxidermy, and discussing the inspiration behind the eerily beautiful still lives she creates and how she has breathed new life into a dead art. It promises to be a fascinating, surreal and unforgettable evening.
Ahead of the event, Polly took some time to answer some of Steven Daly's questions on life, death, and what might be lurking in her freezer...
In your own words, how would you describe what you do?
I make sculptures, drawings and installations from the bodies of dead animals, along with a few other materials.
If you could stuff a person, who would you stuff?
Why the 'if'? I could stuff a person but I choose not to!
What do you think about Gunther von Hagens?
I think he makes engaging works on an educational level. I don't consider it art.
What's in your freezer?
All sorts of things. I have garden birds, rabbits, a lamb, a gannet and some ice cream.
What has been your biggest challenge to date? What challenges will you set for yourself next – what is your next step as an artist?
Every new show offers fresh challenges. I feel that a natural aspect of being an artist is to look back on your old work with contempt and want to disassociate yourself from it as far as you can. Every show I have is a reaction against the last and is a reflection of my urge to do much better.
Do you consider your work as "found art" or not?
No. I interpret 'found art' to be composed of objects that have seen no intervention from the artist, short of putting them on a plinth or choosing to exhibit them as 'art'. I intervene at every step of the way.
Do you see animals as a material?
For me, when the animal dies it changes state; from animal to a material.
Do your works make good pets?
No, terrible ones. I like my pets to have character and energy in abundance. It also helps if they're cuddly, which these aren't.
Can I have one?
Sure, where do I send the invoice?
The Theatre where you will be appearing as part of Light Night was used to perform dissection and anatomy lectures in the past. Do you see your work as having the same kind of education –entertainment crossover? Do you consider yourself a performer? Educator? Artist?
Not a performer at all. This isn't something I would usually do but I am making an exception for Museums at Night. I hope it will be educational, that's all. Before I learned taxidermy I had no idea how it was done and would have welcomed an opportunity to see someone do it. I am an artist but I will not be creating a work of art on Friday, just showing others some of the things I have learned over the past 8 years.
Friday 18th May
Leggate Theatre, Victoria Museum and Gallery
7pm – 8.30pm
No booking required, places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.