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A dead animal could end up becoming the star of this year's documenta exhibition in Germany. Artist Peter Friedl's stuffed giraffe from Kalkilya zoo in the West Bank is garnering a lot of attention.
Let your imagination run wild when you look at Brownie, Friedl suggests
Her eyes are halfway shut and her coat looks worn like those of stuffed toys that have been played with for a very long time. Brownie the giraffe also looks a little small when compared to other specimens of its kind. But the stuffed animal has still become the center of attention at the 12th documenta that opened in the central German city of Kassel last weekend.
Until five years ago, Brownie was a favorite among visitors to Kalkilya zoo in the West Bank. She died when the small town became the center of a military offensive and Israeli troops attacked a Hamas camp. Brownie panicked, ran into an iron rod, then fell to the floor and died of heart failure.
Austrian artist Peter Friedl said he's not interested in presenting the animal as a witness for the prosecution, nor does he intend to take a side. Instead, he's aiming to add an aesthetic experience to the flood of pictures that can be found in the media.
"If you make the mistake of competing with media images by working in a documentary style, you're bound to lose," he said. "Fiction and documentation only produce clichés in this situation. I was interested in asking: What happens when I bring the real thing with me?"
Tickling the imagination
The sculpture has become a visitor magnet