The troupe of wild animals in Bruno Pontiroli’s paintings contort their bodies into backbends and handstands that would rival even the most accomplished gymnast. A wrinkly hippo balances on its tongue, a tiger arches its torso into a 90-degree angle, and a hyena rotates its hind legs in the air. The French artist (previously) notes that he begins the bizarre artworks with easily-recognized animals that he then shapes “like the way a child plays with modeling clay or a building set for instance,” morphing a simple depiction of a nimble lion or hare into a peculiar new reality. He explains by saying:
My aim is to turn the narrow vision that we have of the world upside down and disturb our imagination while shaking an accepted reality with images that are as incomprehensible as they are familiar. Distorting a symbol or mixing opposing universes allows me to question the identity of things so that I can reinvent them in a world with no logic. Everything is possible.
Pontiroli’s series A Rebrousse-Poil, or against the grain, will be virtually on view at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles starting August 22. See what the artist has been up to in the meantime on Instagram.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!