Herman Prigann, Begegnung, 1978
Oil on canvas, 150 x 160 x 2cm
mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien erworben/ acquired in 1982
©Bildrecht Wien, 2022

Mumok: The Animal Within—Creatures in (and outside) the mumok Collection

Location: Vienna, Austria

Dates: 22 September 2022 – 26 February 2023

Curator: Manuela Ammer and Ulrike Müller

The mumok collection contains nearly five hundred works related to animals—a considerable quantity that raises the question of what kind of zoo the museum in fact is. What is kept, researched, and displayed both here and there to protect “wild life” and the “freedom of art”? And in whose interest?

The Animal Within addresses such questions and uses the popular appeal of animals to reflect on the nature of sex, hunger, and affection, as well as on family and gender relations, socialization and domestication, and, not least, on the enduring impact of colonial history. Who leads whom on a leash? Who clips whose wings? Who scratches whose back?

The exhibition is thus less about animals than about bodies, moving or still, reclining or standing, crouching or crawling. The animal as a motif serves as a starting point to get to a materialist understanding of art and life. For in the Western world, “taming and framing” is what we do to mark our territories and claim our subjectivities.