berlin

Paweł Althamer, MAMA I, 2016, clay, wristwatch, bracelet, knife, horn, textile, sand, earth, grass, wood, water, coal, plants, stone, glass, elephant skull, netting, seventeen zebra finches, grasshoppers, iPhone, camera. Installation view.

Paweł Althamer

neugerriemschneider

Paweł Althamer, MAMA I, 2016, clay, wristwatch, bracelet, knife, horn, textile, sand, earth, grass, wood, water, coal, plants, stone, glass, elephant skull, netting, seventeen zebra finches, grasshoppers, iPhone, camera. Installation view.

In 1993, to complete his master’s degree at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts, Paweł Althamer dodged his oral examination, instead presenting his professors with a realist sculptural self-portrait fashioned from grass, straw, and animal skin and intestines, and a video of himself stripping nude and running into the woods. Twenty-three years later, in MAMA I, 2016, we saw the Polish artist sitting naked, grizzled, and mud-caked, in nature—or, rather, we gazed upon a plaster simulacrum of Althamer, positioned cross-legged within an indoor wilderness. Clusters of real trees, albeit dead and smeared with clay, rose from a bumpy, floor-covering topography of mud, speckled with succulents and punctuated by an elephant skull. Live finches, easily startled by visitors, flocked anxiously across the room or descended to feeding bowls. Yet for all the evident effort that went into this

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