Brace yourselves, dear readers, it’s art news time. Today we marvel at the searing brilliance of the French performance artist Abraham Poincheval, who, as I type, resides in the belly of a bear. Or rather, in the hollowed-out carcass of a bear, one that’s currently situated in the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris. Mr Poincheval is, we’re told, re-enacting “a powerful sensitivity” and “profound symbolism,” one that “still grips the Western world’s imagination today.” It’s a “communion” that will “inevitably bring him to a state of profound meditation.” He’s “confounding the boundaries between man and animal.” How so, you ask?
Just like the mammal during the winter months, Poincheval remains within a small enclosure, keeping with him all the basic things he might need to survive throughout the weeks spent inside; food, water, activities and even a place to relieve himself… By residing within the species, Poincheval aims to understand his own physical limits and experience animal nature, a symbolic image of the ‘inside out’ of a bear during hibernation.
Mr Poincheval began his immense artistic feat on April 1 and hopes to make it through two weeks of, um, “residing within the species” and “experiencing animal nature,” albeit with pillows and electric lighting, amenities and distractions, and a kettle on hand. There is, of course, a live feed for the benefit of aesthetes unable to make it to Paris.
I urge you to tune in. It’s gripping stuff.