German Artists Question the ‘Natural’ Environment of Zoos
Going to the zoo is a favorite summer past-time. Visitors to the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna will see lots of animals in recreated ‘natural’ habitats. Except this summer, along with the animals, there’s an odd addition. Junk.
The zoo is hosting the work of two german artists who are questioning whether the environments created at zoos are actually natural representations of the real world. In this case, one untouched by man. Christoph Steinbrener and Rainer Dempf created a new ‘natural’ context in which to view the animals in an exhibition called Trouble in Paradise. In one enclosure, the German duo have half-submerged a car in a watering hole used by the resident rhinos. In another enclosure, penguins frolic in the shadow of an oil pump, and in yet another, alligators must share their modest bayou with a bathtub and a monster truck tire.
The artists hope the exhibition forces the viewer to reconsider their idyllic vision of what a natural animal habitat looks like and realize the impact man has had on the environment.