Discussing detachment and decay with London taxidermist Claire Morgan

 

In 2002, Claire Morgan constructed Untitled an installation in which 2000 fresh strawberries were threaded with nylon and hung from the ceiling in a complex, concave shape. The piece was no doubt a laborious effort; the months of detailed planning, sourcing and implementation were all apparent in the final product – a sculpture that decayed within 10 days.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

Most of Claire’s work is temporary. She uses organic materials, bringing together flowers, animals, insects and other matter and melding them into three dimensional shapes. Her works are commentaries on the relationship we nurture with nature, and some of her pieces hold themes of contained chaos. It can be jarring when you first realize Making A Killing is adorned with real butterflies but Claire’s use of taxidermy is the perfect introduction for us, who hadn’t previously thought it as art. She gives a new life to these animals as they’re reframed into shapes which seem to fluidly bend as you move around the piece.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

The interim nature of installation work breeds a unique type of artist. It’s always interesting to learn how an installation artist accepts that their piece, which required such physical and mental effort will eventually cease to exist. For Claire, the fragility of her pieces is worth the price of seeing her ideas executed. She isn’t troubled with the notion of her legacy, instead she concerns herself with the implementation of her ideas. We still had so many questions about how she detached from her pieces but almost forgot to ask, as we spent the next few hours engrossed, prying through her buckets of bee’s and various stuffed animals (and her very alive cat). We did manage to ask Claire about how she’s adapted to letting go of her pieces, where she sources her animals and which animal is her favorite to work with.