Curator and Catalogue Essayist: Tami Katz-Freiman
Published by the Bass Museum of Art, Miami
Tomer Sapir\’s slide display Research for the Full Crypto-Taxidermical Index presents the viewer with a lexicon of images that undermines classificatory distinctions between nature and culture. This work features a wide range of objects produced by the artist. It also includes objects that Sapir found in nature and subsequently integrated into the work, while disrupting their natural appearance and fusing together the categories of animal and mineral, real and fictional. The hybrid creatures featured in this work are mutations suspended between the organic and the artificial, the seductive and threatening. Alongside strange objects composed of plant-like substances are fossils, silkworm chrysalises, porcupine quills, stones, rotten, cracked fruit pits, or a specimen of Ceiba insignis, an organic plant characterized by a biomechanical ability to spread. These materials are subjected to various types of sculptural and formal manipulations, so that it is impossible to know whether the various artifacts, which are reminiscent of the curiosities featured in Renaissance “cabinets of wonder”, were gathered in nature, or whether they are bodily organs or painstaking created artificial imitations. Like an alchemist in his lab, Sapir examines the overlapping of biological and synthetic elements and attempts to come up with the formula for combining them. The term “crypto-taxidermy” alludes to the embalming of parts of different animals, such as a rabbit and an antelope, and their use to create hybrid creatures that do not actually exist; it further underscores the suspension of Sapir\’s work in the twilight zone between natural and artifice – the habitat of mythological, imaginary creatures.