Angela Singer: Second Sight
10 Oct 2020 – 24 Jan 2021
In ancient Rome, a haruspex was a person gifted with the ability to read the future by looking at the bodies of sacrificed animals. Angela Singer’s enchanting menagerie does not ask us to divine the future, but instead asks us to take a second look at the dead animals themselves.
As both an artist and animal rights activist, Singer has never taxidermied an animal herself. Instead, she works to give forsaken vintage taxidermy new life using discarded jewellery and kitschy decorative items sourced from second-hand shops and hand-sculpted modelling materials. Her works celebrate an aesthetic of reclaimed riches, creating something strange and beautiful out of society’s cast-off treasures.
Second Sight presents a whimsical, fairytale-like assortment of ghost birds, floating snouts, monstrous cats and flowered deer. Yet, like all good fairytales, there is a dark undercurrent to Singer’s work. Gaze deeply into their glassy eyes and you might just see how dysfunctional our relationship to the animal world has become—how twisted it is to expect dead things to ‘play alive’ for our living rooms and museum collections. With its clairvoyant connotations, perhaps Singer’s Second Sight can also help us imagine a better future for these creatures.