Cultural history student head over heels in love with Liverpool
Both modern art devotees and novices to the area will find food for thought at the new exhibition by Helen Pynor.
An Australian artist based in London, Helen Pynor is exploring the boundary between life and death by studying the life cycle of the chicken in her new exhibition which is a part of No Such Thing As Gravity at FACT. As a cellular and molecular biologist, as well as an artist, Pryor is successful at combining both art and science in one exhibition.
As you enter the exhibition, you see a free range chicken farm projected on a large screen and the first thing that strikes you is the number of chickens crowding inside the coop rather than walking outside of it. It gives you a slightly surreal feeling of uncomfortable crowdedness. The next stage of the cycle can be found directly under your feet. A slow motion video of a chicken landing onto the ground and being gradually plucked by the artist. The sight of a helpless creature which can cause controversial emotions in many of us. The final stage of the cycle is a supermarket aisle created in the way which makes you feel inside it shopping for chicken.
exploration of ambiguity by Helen Pynor
Another highlight of the exhibition is the photo shoot of plucked chicken bodies. The artist threw chicken bodies from different heights and caught the positions they landed in on her camera. In most cases the postures remind us of humans posing for the camera: lying on the side with a slightly sexual vibe (see the picture below)
More than that, there is a scientific side of the exhibition too. One of the screens shows us the pictures of living cells which managed to outlive dead chicken bodies, which leads the visitor to the conclusion that chicken bought in supermarkets still houses a lot of living cells.