Albana Ejupi: Nude on Sand
Nude on Sand is a solo exhibition by the Kosovo based artist Albana Ejupi, which showcases the genetic similarities between our other creatures and us, philosophers often try to remind us that we are animals too and the artists also join in. Therefore, animals like apes have been humanized and humans have been made into animals for entertainment and criticism. When pictures depict priests as donkeys and scholars as apes, the animals act as symbols, and their "primitivism" is seen as purely negative, thus confirming the irreducible differences between species. Art, however, is only truly disruptive when it challenges prevailing ways of seeing, rather than confirming them.
What the artist has done in her series on humans and other animals depicts the close encounter of different species on an equal basis, thus providing a fresh perspective on the theme of "man and animal" in art history. Unlike the many dogs featured in court paintings, her animals are not status symbols; nor are they signs of any kind. In contrast, her animals exist as living beings, on an equal footing with the human subjects in her paintings. She represents a fusional relationship that sometimes exists between animals that instinctively seek the warmth and comfort of each other's bodies and express their anxiety when the other animal leaves. These dogs are considered companions, not property or pets.
Each of her animal paintings shows the symbiotic relationship of two or three animals. Humans and animals are equally naked, and their limbs seem to be intertwined. However, the impression of unity is achieved not only by subject, but by the fusion of form and content: the artist blurs the inner boundaries between beings, leaving only the contours intact and largely unifying the colors. By doing so, she is not only erasing the boundaries between individuals, but also between humans and animals.