Animals in Art - Jane Edden - Ornithomorph

Jupiter announced that he intended to appoint a king over the birds and named a day on which they were to appear before his throne, when he would select the most beautiful of them all to be their ruler...

Jane Edden - Bird feathers and resin in perspex case
32 Glenny & Henderson HSF.2 Gadfly 2012

... Wishing to look their best on the occasion they repaired to the banks of a stream, where they busied themselves in washing and preening their feathers.
The jackdaw was there along with the rest, and realized that with his ugly plumage he would have no chance of being chosen as he was. So he waited till they were all gone, and then picked up the most gaudy of the feathers they had dropped and fastened them about his own body, with the result that he looked gayer than any of them.
When the appointed day came, the birds assembled before Jupiter’s throne; and, after passing them in review, he was about to make the jackdaw king, when all the rest set upon the king-elect, stripped him of his borrowed plumes, and exposed him for the jackdaw that he was.

THE VAIN JACKDAW, Aesop's Fables

28 Gloster Gamecock 2012

25 Curtiss No.1 Gold Bug/Golden Flyer

22 Robin DR.400-108 Dauphin 80

18 Alliance P.2 Seabird

17 Grumman F4F Martlet

11 De Havilland Heron

05 Robin DR400

80 Handley Page Type A Blue Bird

13 Wittman Tailwind

10 English Electric Wren

30 Parnall Puffin 2012

Artist's Statement:
"I situate my work at the intersection of science and aesthetics: a hybrid space where technological concerns meet the seductiveness of natural imagery. Upholding this ethics of hybridity and permissiveness, I try not to limit my materials, allowing myself to weave technology into images of nature or to source organic matter directly. By giving myself this license to commingle and mix, I hope to produce soundscapes without fixed horizons or circumscribed borders. My work is always tangential, never linear or straightforwardly progressive. By adopting this oblique standpoint I attempt to seek access to the irregular interchanges between nature and culture; a moveable border which continues to provide a springboard for my thought and a point of departure for my practice." (Source)


  1. It's great to see a new post here.

    I wonder what it would be like to see these pieces in person. There's a nice contrast between the arrangement of the feathers, and the impression the tags give - like they're some sort of informal laboratory specimens. I imagine the small size also gives it a sense of... fragility, perhaps.

    (Poor jackdaw... I'm not aware of the entire story, but it sounds like he at least showed some ingenuity.)

    I also can't help but imagine a little bird going through these pieces and trying to pick what feathers to wear today.

    Happy New Year Sofie!

    1. I really like your description. It's very close to my own thoughts. I especially love the combination of scientific references (the tags and the way they are displayed) and the poetry and delicacy of the objects. There's a certain ambiguity, a slight tension even.

      Vincent, I am happy, you're still around. You're right, it's been a while. But be assured: my postings will continue. A Happy New Year to you too!

      btw, the story of the jackdaw is not just an excerpt, it's the complete fable.


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