Published on August 1st, 2012
Tomer Sapir, Overturned Cryptid, 2008
Cement, salt, wax, fibers of Ceiba insignis fruits, latex, 43X77X59 cm
Photo – Elad Sarig
Israeli-born sculptor Tomer Sapir—a “crypto-taxidermist” of creatures that have never walked this earth—surveys the borderlands of technology and nightmare.
Tomer Sapir is a Tel Aviv-based artist who creates a conjoined mixture of faux science and real art to sculpt new forms of life. Using a method known as crypto-taxidermy, he combines the disparate parts of real and imagined creatures to form a single, unidentifiable life form. Sapir mixes natural and organic materials, including concrete, synthetic fibers, and resins, in his efforts to confound and amuse. Even though his fantastical animals are supposedly dead—embalmed, stuffed, or in the form of skeletal remains—many of his works nonetheless show signs of life: a fossilized carcass may reveal deeply embedded larvae, while another may exhibit newly grown “hair.”
Sapir’s use of artist’s materials to replicate nature blurs the preconceived boundaries between authenticity and imitation, exposing various dichotomies and rendering meaningless what can be “proven” by the scientific method.
In the battle pitting science against art, each is a formidable opponent. Sapir’s world–colored by his own “new, doubtful mythology” inspired by organic configurations–is a journey through a fitful sleeper’s dream or an accidental visit to a natural history museum, instilling both doubt and wonder.
—Helen Bartley for Guernica.
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