Critics’ Picks

Lin-May Saeed, Small Fox Relief, 2019, Styrofoam, paint, steel nails, 16 x 23 x 5".

Frankfurt

Lin May Saeed

Jacky Strenz
Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 2
May 10–July 15, 2019

Lin May Saeed’s exhibition “Girl with Cat” continues the artist’s aesthetic and her advocacy for animal rights. The show’s titular piece is a Styrofoam sculpture of not a stereotypically asexual spinster but an adolescent animal-activist radicalized upon suspecting that animal snatchers abducted her pet. The cat resembles those found in hieroglyphs, nodding to the notion that, in ancient Egypt, the “animal” was not distinct from humans. Visitors to Saeed’s exhibition learn this history from an accompanying text excerpting Birgit Mütherich’s 2003 essay “The Social Construction of the Other: On the Sociological Question of the Animal,” translated in English for the first time. Drawing parallels to feminist theory, Mütherich refutes the perceptions that animals consent to being used, or “that it is inferior because it is less rational.”

A car tire grazes the tail of a fox in another Styrofoam sculpture, Small Fox Relief, 2019. The themes of the accidental and systemic killing of animals is continued in Documentation model of 8 hour long car blockade in front of Europe’s largest poultry slaughtering factory in Wietze/Germany, 2015, a copper-and-steel piece that models two women who, in 2014, handcuffed themselves to block the entrance to a slaughterhouse. The activists’ own drawings of the barricade are shown on the wall next to a steel piece, Toreador Gate, 2019, which depicts a bull trampling a bullfighter. The most colorful and optimistic work is Landscape with trees, 2019, a collage on cardboard of prehistoric animals, a memento of a time before humans introduced the problems Saeed highlights, and perhaps a talisman for a time to come.