I have been doing a lot of research into the the theme of animal-human relations and the animal in art. As it is a very complex and extensive subject matter with multiple angles, I tried to gain a better understanding through drawing and painting the initial ideas that the research prompted in me.

I will present a couple of examples here with the base ideology that inspired the outcome. These pieces are not final works, they are more like snippets of my thinking process.

1. Pets

The category of pets within animals and the relationships formed with them in our society is an odd one, they (pets) occupy a place somewhere in between the animal and the human, leading  a curious existence in the social domain.

an attempt to understand the pet/human relationship

2. Darwin and evolution

As the evolution theory states we have evolved from a long line of biological entities, we are all connected, and these connections leave residues that even today can manifest within the human body. I have looked into vestigial features, of which there many, but the most prominent is the occasional tail and webbed toes, fingers.

an idea of a series that hasn’t happened (yet?)

3.  Nietzsche’s Satyr

“the satyr, that fictive nature sprite, stands to cultured man in the same relation as Dionysian music does to civilization.”

F.Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy

The Satyr represents the denial of culture, and a lost connection to nature, combining our fears and desires. I am planning to make a costume in order to become this border creature to entice and disgust the cultured man. I don’t have an exact image of what I have to be to achieve this, but I’m hoping that, by donning the disguise, I can become what I need to be.



3. Empathy and Horror

Through researching animality it was inevitable to get caught up in the horrors of the treatment of animals, be it scientific research or personal use (meat, fur, etc) I found it hard not to be aroused into activism via witnessing these atrocities. It is not something I am going to keep in the forefront of my practice, but it might persist in the background.


Besides these graphic works I have primarily focused on video, performance and sculptural pieces that either work with animals, or are created for animals.

Monika Tobel