Swiss artist Gina Fischli has created the inaugural artwork for the Cork Street Banners initiative in her animal-based public art commission titled, Ravenous and Predatory.
It’s part of an ongoing programme in which a new artist will be invited to take up the site-specific public art installation every six months. Fischli’s banners were unveiled earlier this month during London Gallery Weekend and will be on show until November 2021.
The site-specific installation is based on five animal portraits that Fischli drew from internet screengrabs, except for the image of the blackbird, which is by wildlife photographer Paul Sorrell. The pieces’ placement aims to draw the eye up past the street’s ground floor windows and depicts animals, including a mouse, bat, squirrel, blackbird and wolf.
This installation sees Fischli expand her frequently collage-based practice in that the piece encourages viewers to see the images as part of one sequence in the form of a “walk-able collage.” They also continue her ongoing explorations of scale: her piece at Soft Opening’s booth at Paris International fair, for instance, took the form of an enormous sculptural handbag; while another of her pieces took the form of an enlarged image of a German Shepherd, which was hung on the façade of Burlington House.
The animals look to engage with their surroundings directly while also offering double meanings. At first glance, they seem cute and innocuous, but their placement and scale also hint at “an undercurrent of intimidation and potential danger,” as the commission’s organisers put it.
The Cork Street piece began in 2017 when Fischli submitted a Street Flags Proposal in response to the question ‘what is your unrealised project?’ posed by Artistic Director at the Serpentine Galleries Hans Ulrich Obrist. The piece was brought to life by Catalogue, the art journal published by Cork Street Galleries. Fischli was among the group of new-generation artists selected by Ulrich Obrist.
“In the three years I studied at the Royal Academy, I spent every day in Mayfair and with the tension of this neighbourhood. I found it endlessly fascinating because it visualises so much of what London as a city is right now but also a fantasy landscape of what it once was,” says Fischli.
“It is an intriguingly beautiful woman that has undergone over thirty facelifts and stands apart from any timeline. I love art in public places and immediately started to think about ways art could exist in this peculiar landscape which is really tricky because all the space is already densely occupied.”