Scientists have not been interested for very long in the perceptual systems through which pigs communicate with their environment and in the potential for consciousness they possess. The result of such research can be interpreted as the realisation that the pig occupying 0.75 square metres of shed space per animal, even with the addition of a movable chain, gets bored. Thus, in enclosure level 2, on its now 0.825 square metres of shed space – less than the footprint of a crawling baby’s playpen – it is granted material to occupy it that resembles organic material.¹ This is the subject of Die Verringerung der Notwendigkeit (The Reduction of Necessity), one of the three contributions by Leipzig-based artist Felix Bielmeier. After training as a cook, he worked as one before studying photography. He also approaches the pig against the background of his biographical experience:
anyone who grew up in the city may remember when he or she first came into direct contact with the ground and lay in the “dirt”. The fact that we interact with our entire environment, i.e. also with the soil and non-human animals, via trillions of microorganisms, perhaps sinks in at such moments of being “grounded”.
For Bielmeier, this happened during a military service exercise. His attempts to replicate a pig’s ground-level perception are represented by a series of photographic images that, under the title Versuch über die magischen Umwelten (Experiment on Magical Environments), make the paradoxical attempt to encounter the pig in comparable interests in the evolved environment, in fungi, grasses and fruits.
In Die Übung (Palpation) (The Exercise (Palpation)), the artist follows what he calls the quasi-photographic palpation and touching of the anaesthetised pig during a veterinary exercise: “Gently directed touch as a necessity for cognition” contrasts with his earlier work as a cook.
¹ https://www.haltungsform.de (retrieved: 10.4.2023).
Born in 1987, Nürnberg, DE; lives in Leipzig
• 2004–2020 Trained and worked as a chef • 2013–2020 Studied photography, Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig
E 2020 Die Möglichkeit eines Mammuts, Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (SE); Unter Uns – Bildproduktion im Mansfelder Land, Werkleitz Festival, Hettstedt, DE; Bresche, Künstlerhaus Frise, Hamburg (with Philip Kanwischer) • 2019 Zufall und Notwendigkeit, Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (SE); Moderne. Ikonografie. Fotografie. Das Bauhaus und die Folgen 1919–2019, Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg, DE (C); Bauhaus_Sachsen, Grassi Museum of Applied Arts, Leipzig (C) • 2017 Nützlichkeit ist keine Ursache, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, DE (SE)