White Tiger (Kenny)
Selective Inbreeding, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Foundation
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
In the United States, all living white tigers are the result of selective inbreeding to artificially create the genetic conditions that lead to white fur, ice-blue eyes and a pink nose. Kenny was born to a breeder in Bentonville, Arkansas on February 3, 1999. As a result of inbreeding, Kenny is mentally retarded and has significant physical limitations. Due to his deep-set nose, he has difficulty breathing and closing his jaw, his teeth are severely malformed and he limps from abnormal bone structure in his forearms. The three other tigers in Kenny’s litter are not considered to be quality white tigers as they are yellow-coated, cross-eyed, and knock-kneed.
Chromogenic print, 37-1/4 x 44-1/2 inches framed (94.6 x 113 cm), Edition of 7
[Taryn Simon provides expansive descriptions as part of many of her works. – eds.]
The installation: Le mot traduit le bruit des contingences passées [“The Word Reflects the Noise of Past Contingencies”] is based mostly on sonic concerns. Although its form and the elements used in it all point toward what should be a video installation, the work actually highlights the main feature of sound: its evanescence. Sound exists only in an instantaneous temporality. Through an attempt at playfully piecing back together a vanished sound event, the installation sets a series of ambiguous relationships between sounds and pictures, past time and present time, unique perspective and mobile perspective. Surveillance cameras and monitors – the guards of our relationship to the present time and our fantasies of omniscience and ubiquity – spy the inanimate shards of one of their own, heavily fallen from the ceiling, taking with it the sound of a past event. Inescapably, time dissipates the clamour of the noisiest events… Lacerated matter – the sole clue of the event’s violence – contains in itself the trace of a noisy transformation of matter. Through multiple perspectives on the remains of this incident, the work makes sound reappear. The sound is not reproduced; it is suggested, implied; it is written. So the installation transforms sound into picture, pictures into word, and word into sound. Therefore, the work addresses a number of issues in relation to temporality and mobility, through a series of cognitive games and back-and-forths between moving images, real time, sound, multiple perspectives, and a single perspective. Are we in the presence of a sound work, despite the physical absence of sound?
It is a give-and-take between an idea, what one might call “text”, and what is recorded using the medium as “subtext”. I have to ask myself what I expect from painting: should it be subservient to my ideas or a queen that I have to serve? The text, which I regard as a private matter, must be able to stand being dragged diagonally across the canvas. If it loses something along the way, so much the better, since it then gains something that it may have urgently needed: sensuality and a truth that is rooted in non-verbal space.
I don’t try to drain all expression out, I just want a very neutral expression. If you have an extreme expression—either laughing or crying or whatever—then that’s the only content that you will get out of it. Whereas if it’s presented neutrally and flat-footedly, you can read whatever evidence is embedded in their visage, like laugh-lines and furrows or whatever, in the same way that you can make assumptions about people when you meet them at a cocktail party. I am a humanist and I hope that a bit of humanity is in there somewhere; I just don’t like to editorialize it.
I have never made trials or experiments. Whenever I had something to say, I have said it in the manner in which it needed to be said…I can hardly understand the importance given to the word “research” in connection with modern painting. In my opinion to search means nothing in painting. To find is the thing.
Marcel Dzama (born 1974 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) is a Canadian artist living in New York City known for small-scale ink and watercolor drawings of human figures, animals, and imaginary hybrids. Dzama has a BFA from the University of Manitoba. Dzama typically uses a muted, melancholic color palette of browns and greens, drawing from nature and army textiles. He often employs root beer base as an artistic medium. In addition to ink and watercolor drawings, Dzama also creates many collages. A recent departure for Dzama is the move into large-scale polyptychs, sculpture, and video. Dzama is known for providing the cover art to a number of major albums, notably The Else by They Might Be Giants, Guero by Beck and Reconstruction Site by The Weakerthans. His costume designs can also be seen in the music video for the Bob Dylan song “When the Deal Goes Down.” Since 1998, Dzama has been represented by the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City, at which he has had numerous solo exhibitions. In 2006 he had a major exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England, which traveled to the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Dzama co-founded the Royal Art Lodge artist collective in Winnipeg in 1996. McSweeney’s has published two collections of his work, The Berlin Years in 2003 (reprinted in 2006) and a follow-up, The Berliner Ensemble Thanks You All, in 2008. His works are held in the collection of the Tate museum.