I was asked to contribute to a themed exhibition by the Hundred Years Gallery. The theme was Lost and Found grouped around portraiture in a wider sense. As I am researching animal-human relations, I based the work on the lost connection  between animal/human, nature/human.

An essay about pre-evolution theories introduced me to the fascinating story and work of Peter Artedi. He is commonly referred to as the father of ichthyology, the study of fish. In his posthumously published book, he categorized mermaids as a human species under the name Homo-Marinus. This idea of a much loser categorization of human   and a closer connection to the animal world instigated the piece titled: Fish Supper

study for fish supper, acrylics on canvas

The painting is based on an image I find through google search engine, (most of my images come through similar sources), of a girl seemingly comforting a dead fish. I felt a strong connection towards the image instantly.

To create a narrative I combined the painting with related objects, such as the print of Homo-Marinus from Artedi’s Bibliotheca Ichthyologica  as a nod back to a lost connection.  Besides the print I placed a chair under the painting with a fish skeleton (the remnant of the dinner) on a slate. Attached to the chair is the quote from the scientist’s grave. He drowned in Amsterdam at a very young age while conducting research. It is a poetic story and I admire his passion and work and can recommend the beautiful drawings of sea life for everyone.

Here lies poor Artedi,

in foreign land pyx’d

Not a man nor a fish,

but something betwixt,

Not a man, for his life among fishes he past

Not a fish, for he perished by water at last

The exhibition is on til the 12th of November, with performances on the 5th and videos on the 10th.


Monika Tobel