Curated Cruelty Under Fire
Protester Pitches Camp in Freezing Snow to Protest Art Gallery’s Exploitation
For Immediate Release:
2 February 2004
Andrew Butler +44 (0) 779 344 4020
Dawn Carr +44 (0) 20 7357 9229, ext 224
Peter Nilsson (Förbundet djurens rätt) +46 (0) 7 365 095 48
Stockholm, Sweden – Performance artist? Protestor? Angry young man? 29-year-old British native Andrew Butler is all three, and he plans to sit outside the Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm around the clock, in freezing temperatures, with nothing more than basic cold-weather clothing and a sign reading, ‘Cruelty is not art’, to protect himself from the elements as he demands the closure of a gruesome exhibit of decapitated cats, rabbits and mice:
Date: Tuesday, 3 February
Time: Beginning at 12 noon
Place: Wetterling Gallery, Kungsträdgården 3, Stockholm
The protest comes after the gallery failed to respond to calls for the removal of the work of Nathalia Edenmont, whose photographs showing cats’ heads on top of porcelain pedestals, mice’s heads stuck on the fingertips of a woman’s hand and rabbits’ heads protruding from colourful paper collars are scheduled to be on display until 10 February. The gallery owner, Bjorn Wetterling, says that Edenmont killed and decapitated the animals herself and points to the emotional trauma of her mother’s murder in the former Soviet Union as the reason for some of her actions.
In a recent letter to Wetterling, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) expressed concern not only for the animals, but also for Ms Edenmont, whose actions, they believe, may be a cry for help. PETA believes that it is possible that her childhood trauma causes her to mutilate and kill in order to demonstrate her own ability to exercise the ultimate power over others weaker than herself. The gallery has seemingly encouraged her to continue with this destructive behaviour, as shown by the gallery director’s admitted attempt to
‘get [Edenmont] to try to work with larger animals, like dogs’.
‘This exhibition represents a societal sickness that should win visits from mental health counsellors, not voyeurs’, says protester Andrew Butler. ‘I am putting myself on the line, but I choose my actions. Art should never come at the expense of the lives or well-being of innocent, non-consenting parties.’
Butler will remain outside the gallery, urging patrons to boycott the exhibition until it is removed, and is calling for art authorities to set up a committee to make sure that people are not rewarded for or encouraged to act out psychoses that are self-damaging or damaging to others.
For further information and to view PETA’s letter to the Wetterling Gallery, please visit PETAUK.org.