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Rhino Sculpture Location:
6 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Idol is a life-size effigy of a Rhinoceros, painted black and decorated by a repetitive chain motif. The pattern, which belongs to the stratum of luxury fashion houses and in particular references Chanel's radiating scarf design, is pompous in its own appearance. Its flashy gold evokes a sense of grandiose that often is associated with expensive luxury items, but its presence simultaneously objectifies the animal, reducing it to a bipedal idea of material worth. When you consider the material value of Rhinoceros horn on today's black market, it's not hard to get an immediate sense of what first inspired the making of this piece. However, below the surface lies the question, what is value and how is it gauged? Idol challenges society's treatment of animals as commodities and explores the collision between the economic value and intrinsic value of non-human living things.
Australian born visual artist, Bridge Stehli's paintings portray a hallucinatory world where animals and humans are interchangeable, where animals adopt uniquely human behaviour and engage in self-destructive activities.
In Stehli's paintings, we see aspects of ourselves and consequently we are reminded of the similarities that exist between our own social lives, hierarchies and instincts and those of animals. Often referencing literary figures such as Lewis Carol and animation giants, Disney and Warner Bros, Bridge explores the significance of animal personification within classical and contemporary culture and how some of these fictitious anthropomorphized figures relate to, impact and comment on the physical world.