Tuesday, 5 October 2010

it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that jizz. also, talking horses


Jizz, in bird taxidermy (and I think other taxidermy, subsequently) is the sense of truth - a something about the animal that makes it feel as if frozen in life. At the World Taxidermy Championships in 2005 (I think this is when she was writing her book), Melissa Milgrom chatted to one of the judges. He said that you can't produce still life unless you really, really know the animal you're trying to create:
When I walk into that room, I see versions of nature that are distorted and wrong, and then every so often I see the real thing ... but it's rare. It's the jizz that will tell them apart: the nervous action ... the jizz is made up of everything.
Elsewhere, Milgrom visits Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, home to Victorian taxidermy fan, Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe (and all the little Harpur Crewes).

This picture, part of the Calke Abbey collection illustrates the fable of a proud young colt who will not work for man until he is persuaded of the right way of things by a wise old horse. On reading this description I thought:
1. Animal Farm this is not.
2. It is not a totally dissimilar premise to that of Warhorses of Letters, one of my and Marie Phillips more haunting recent works.

Note. That zebra/lion affair above. The lion is supported by its tail touching the zebra, which is supported on one hind leg. It's very flashy, but the best in show is usually a fabulously jizzy wren or rat.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Multi-tasking zebra: climbing over shark while being attacked by a lion. Impressive.

You would like Calke Abbey a lot. It has a huge amount of stuff generally, but a particularly huge amount of stuffed dead things.