Is it permissible to kill animals in the name of art?

Most people who see Nathalia's pictures for the first time are impressed by how beautiful they are. It takes a few seconds before you start to wonder how they have been made. A photo-montage? Some kind of digital manipulation? When you look closer, there is something slightly distorted in the rabbit's expression. Something slightly abnormal about the face of the cat. Slowly you realise that the animal is dead, that the animal has died for the sake of the picture. Is this acceptable?

Art arouses thoughts and poses questions that are necessary. Nathalia's beautiful pictures are frightening in the same way that many other beautiful things hide some sort of suffering. One can enjoy beautiful exteriors, or one can go beneath the surface and find things that perhaps you do not want to know about. If Nathalia's pictures had been repugnant, it would have been easy to reject them. But now they are so beautiful - and the insight into the reality behind them gives rise to thoughts about people's shallowness and double standards. Many of us eat meat, wear leather or use make-up that has been tested on animals, without this arousing especially strong reactions. But when a picture shows a dead rabbit, all hell breaks loose.

Nathalia grew up in the former Soviet Union, and she has a razor sharp eye for paradoxes and gaps in our western morals. She is not the first to use dead animals in her works of art - that has been done at least since the 1700s, but she is a contemporary debater who provokes questions which nowadays everyone should ask themselves. Her pictures tell lies in front of our faces, but they are not alone in this - the lies exist all around us every day, without us questioning them.

What do you think?


return to