Why bear with this artist? 7

Abraham Poincheval is an artist.

His is the art of living inside a small hole, a metal cylinder, a bear’s carcass, or the French Alps for a week or more.

This is from the Washington Post:

As you read this, Poincheval is inhabiting a bear. A hollowed-out, sterilized bear carcass, to be exact. He’s been there since yesterday [April 2, 2014], and he won’t leave until April 13. That means he’ll eat, sleep, drink and — yes — “go to the bathroom” inside the bear.

He talks nonsense.

Poincheval, according to the exhibition’s press release, has long had a “need to become one with such an animal.” During a previous performance, which involved him living in the French Alps, he “repeatedly encountered animal carcasses.” That got the French artist’s wheels turning. What would it be like to live inside one?

His thoughts on the matter got pretty deep.

“The transcendence between man and bear endures since the dawn of time,” the press release says. “A profound symbolism has existed since the prehistory, a symbolism that is still gripping the Western world’s imagination today.”

Transcendence cannot be between two things. For one to transcend the other he or it must go beyond it or him.

And neither man nor bear have existed since “the dawn of time”.

And there cannot have been any symbolism “since the prehistory” [presumably of mankind] as only human beings can create symbols. But what symbolism does he mean? What is being symbolized? However did he discover that the symbolism of whatever it may be is gripping the Western world’s imagination? (It’s not gripping ours.)

Poincheval wanted to make imagination into reality.

Meaning presumably that he wanted to make real something that he imagined.

Though such a feat — especially when it involves residing inside a giant bear carcass for a fortnight — isn’t necessarily an easy task. It takes patience. It takes calculation. It takes a very comfortable pillow.

The piece [of performance art], which he’s filming with two cameras, is being held at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Hunting and Wildlife Museum).

“Thought as being the intermediary between the world of men and the world of animals, for a long time the bear was believed to be man’s ancestor,” [his] press release tells people …  “Becoming [a] bear and the wearing of [its] skin is to bring about a liberating choice between human nature and animal nature. … Right from the start, this communion between Abraham Poincheval and the bear will inevitably bring him to a state of profound meditation.”

Will it? Inevitably?

A boon for the Western world’s imagination.

Posted under Art, Commentary, France by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 3, 2014

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