The Big Sleep
Alisa Hecke / Julian Rauter / Andi Willmann (Leipzig) / Artists in Residence
In the fictitious storage depot of a museum of natural history, “The Big Sleep” assembles an inventory of people, objects and taxidermy. It explores the motives, backgrounds and evil ways of this craft (or art?), which aims to halt natural processes of decay and is able to create an illusion of a life with dead animals.
Museums of natural history are mysterious, symbolic places that display knowledge and life. Taxidermy exhibits of animals are particularly fascinating: Animals removed from time, poised on the threshold between life and death. They return the gaze of their human observers and turn them into the object of observation and enquiry.
Interviews with experts on collections of natural history, which were conducted, documented and collected during a process of research, form the foundation of this work. In the style of presentation forms like the tableau vivant or nature morte, “The Big Sleep” creates a disconcerting intimacy between living bodies and lifeless objects. It provides a space where life – both human and animal – can be regarded, remembered and questioned. The stories point towards obvious and perceived symptoms of rapid global changes. In the face of a world in transformation, their contemplation bears witness to the fear of loss, the urge to conserve and the desire for order.