Sculptures of monkeys replicating the actions of human beings are the centrepoint of new Hoxton exhibition Monkey Business.
German artist Brigitte Jurack summarizes the meaning of Monkey Business as “nothing but an allegory of the human condition.”
“I was intrigued by the way they seemed to observe me,” she explains, recalling her experiences with a group of monkeys in Delhi. “I tried to conjure up my encounter with them. The way they observed me eating and working, waiting for the moment when nobody looks and they can steal some food.”
The artist took inspiration from Kafka’s short story “A Report to an Academy”, in which an ape named Red Peter explains to an academic audience how he learnt to behave like a human being.
“At a certain point, the ape has to decide between going to a zoo or becoming a performer in a circus. This is an allegory for the human condition – in life, you can only choose between either doing a boring job like an animal in a zoo or being an artist like the monkey that joins the circus. There is nothing like a real freedom,” Brigitte explains.
“However, by learning how to behave and speak like a human being, the monkey forgets how it was before. This is the same for the artist – when you are an artist you try to mimic things to get in touch with something that is pre-linguistic.”
Monkey Business – FILET, 103 Murray Grove, Hoxton
13 Oct – 28 Oct 2018, 11 am – 6 pm