Kelly McCallum - Moss New York Monday, October 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Commissioned directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    McCallum exhibits a jeweler’s interest in scale and detailing. In creating her sculptural pieces she draws from her interest in story telling, natural history, Victorian taxidermy, insects, precious metals and other treasures from her personal collection of oddities and natural wonders. Her work explores themes of death, decadence, decay and rebirth, as well as perceptions of preservation and disintegration. Taxidermy seeks to preserve life by celebrating death. It is a strange half life, a suspension, an illusion.

    ‘Standing some six feet tall, a taxidermied adult emu looks directly into the eyes of the viewer. It is not, however, those eyes which capture the attention, but the glitter of gold which snakes over the bird, from the plinth on which it stands, up one leg, across the plumage of its body, over neck and head to the golden crown upon its head. Closer inspection shows this rivulet of metal to be made of gold-plated insects, some small, some large, and each following the next, from floor to crown. Those on the floor await their turn to begin their ascension. Those lucky enough to have reached the emu’s head can be seen in the act of dismantling themselves, holding up golden limbs and carapaces towards the waiting crown. And now the detail of the crown itself becomes clear: it is composed of myriad gold-plated pieces of insect, the fruits of the labors of those that have gone before. So the process continues, and we see a snapshot of the on-going exertions of all the insects yet to complete their journeys.’ – Kelly McCallum



Taxidermied emu, gold-plated insects.
67 3/4 x 21 5/8 x 44 7/8 in (172 x 55 x 114 cm)

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $17,500


16 October 2012
New York