27 RATS REACHING FOR THE MOON - ALEX RANDALL, Rat Swarm, taxidermied rats, bulb.
I have a love affair with this sort of thing*. This one, especially, reminds me of a bunch of folklore and fairy tales, the obvious Hamelin, of course, and also some pretty excellent other stuff. Here’s Lafcadio Hearn retelling a Japanese folktale, The Boy Who Drew Cats.
Alex Randall makes some amazing things with light and skin. I love pretty much everything she does. There’s a series of rawhide and electricity sculptures that break me down. As is often the case with the artists I post here, I’d be very happy to hang out with her for days.
This lamp’s a kind of riff on the anthropofolkloric construct of the Rattenkönig, or rat king. The French term for that is rouets des rats - or a spinning wheel of rats, the knotted tails being wheel spokes.
Here’s sculptor Katharina Fritsch’s version, in which the rats are joined by what looks like a monkey’s fist knot:
- Katharina Fritsch, Rattenkonig, 1998.
And here’s a real rat king. Well, maybe real. Hoax creatures are nothing new, and rat trappers sometimes likely made money by making marvels. Either that, or a lot of rats got stuck in a fireplace and died there, ensnarled - this rat king was discovered in a chimney. It’s from the scientific Mauritianum museum in Altenburg, Germany. As I was researching, I happened upon a reference to a squirrel king. Oh my god. I want to see that squirrel king, so badly.
* Randall only works with already dead or culled animals, FYI.
See also: Handful of Cicadas; Twisty Serpents; X-rays of Impossibilities; Animal Shoes; Giant Mole