After his cat Orville was killed in a car accident, Dutch artist Bart Jansen kept his deceased pet in a freezer for about a half a year. Then he had him stuffed, attached propellers to each of Orville’s four paws and put a remote control engine into his stomach, turning him into a … helicopter. Jansen is exhibiting “Orvillecopter” at Amsterdam’s KunstRai, the city’s annual show — and generating controversy worldwide. In a description accompanying a a YouTube video of “Orvillecopter,” Jansen wrote that “he is flying with the birds…. the greatest goal a cat could ever reach!”
The video has been widely viewed and more than a little criticism of Jansen has surfaced, notes the Los Angeles Times. Anonymous animal rights activists graffitied the RAI Convention Center with phrases such as “Kill the animal killers” and “Shame.” The Dutch Party for the Animals, whose platform emphasizes animal rights, is sending a letter of complaint to the festival and to the RAI Convention Center.
Others have expressed amusement. German publication Der Spiegel quotes a commenter “Devilchris86″ who writes: “HAHAHA, I can’t stop laughing! That’s hilarious!”
But as Johnas van Lammeren, a Party for the Animals leader, is quoted in the Dutch publication Parool.nl: ”If you can do this with an animal now, what will you do tomorrow?”
Jansen seems to have anticipated his critics. On his website, he says that Orville was “named after the famous aviator Orville Wright” and that “for the cat lovers: it’s a tanned hide, just like the shoes you’re wearing.” German publication Der Spiegel singles out another of Jansen’s works, the “Ku Klux Klock,” a cuckoo clock with a small hooded Ku Klux Klan figure (with a rifle) popping out on the hour instead of a bird; the clock is decorated with miniature cannons, stars and strips reminiscent of the Confederate flag and the letters “KKK.” Another work, “Rex Propria Manu Operandi,” depicts a man bound onto a large wooden cross onto which he is drilling his own left hand.
Clearly, Jansen is not shy of courting controversy.
But the ”Ku Klux Klock” is a sculpture (so to speak) and “Rex Propria Manu Operandi” is a painting, whereas “Orvillecopter” is made from the body of a real animal. Has this artist — like a German artist who planned to strangle puppies as part of a performance — simply gone too far with his latest creation?
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Photo by Ack Ook