A new exhibition in Melbourne features disturbing images of human-animal hybrids

A deer-human. By Kate Clark. Gallant, 2016, fallow deer hide, antlers, clay, foam, thread, pins, rubber eyes, wire. Image courtesy of the artist.

The merging of animals and humans into one hybrid creature creates disturbing images.

The art form is being explored in My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid at the RMIT Gallery.

My Monster examines the artistic representation of the human animal hybrid from mythology to movies; taxidermy to biotechnology; painting and photography to multi-sensory immersive sound installations.

The exhibition coincides with the 200-year anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which gave rise to the portrayal of the mad scientist and outcast hybrid made from human and animal parts.

Curator Dr Evelyn Tsitas, who based the exhibition on her PhD, says the exhibition playfully and provocatively examined the role the human animal hybrid has played in the human imagination.

Chocolate Muffin by Barthi Kher. Image: Supplied

“What visual artists can do so powerfully is simultaneously take the viewer into the conflicted and internal world of the hybrid, while at the same time giving a face and identity to the hybrid within the physical but imaginary world,” she says.

“A single artwork can literally replace thousands of words of written text or pages of academic references.”

The 35 Australian and international artists represented in the exhibition use the hybrid as a varied and powerful metaphor, exploring complex relationship with maternity and domesticity; segregation and alienation; fractured relationships with the natural environment and other animals, as well as struggles with our public and private personas.

“The trouble with hybrids is that they disturb our moral compass, reminding us that we are animals, and animals are like us,” says Tsitas.

“This is the power of the hybrid creature. When we look into its human eyes, we see ourselves looking back from the animal body we deny we inhabit.”

My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid runs from June 20 to August 18.

White Fell’s Eye Turned (Green) by Jazmina Cininas. Image: Supplied