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Jesus as an ape? Artist crucifies simian specimen in London

October 14, 2009 | 11:12 am

Privilege

No, that's not a real gorilla hanging from a cross. It's a large waxwork sculpture that British shock artist Paul Fryer has crucified in an attempt to "highlight [the] plight of the Western Lowland Gorillas, and to challenge the Christian notion that animals do not have souls," according to one report.

Fryer, who caused a stir earlier this year when he exhibited a statue depicting Christ in an electric chair just in time for Easter, has told reporters that his latest work, titled "The Privilege of Dominion," isn't meant to cause offense.

The work is currently on display at an exhibition at the former Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, London. The show, which features works by 16 artists, is being held to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair.

In an article in the London Evening Standard, the artist said: "I do go to church and regard myself as a Christian, though I'm probably a heretic.... I just hope people understand the spirit of it is intended to create discourse and make people think rather than offend anybody."

The gorilla sculpture was reportedly created with the assistance of a waxworks expert who had worked at Madame Tussauds.

Also on display is Fryer's electrocuted Jesus sculpture.

In the Daily Telegraph, the show's curator, Joe La Placa, defended the artist's work, saying that the gorilla sculpture is supposed inspire discussion as to why primates were disappearing.

“It inspires you to connect to your maximum ability to learn and connect… I think great art heightens that,” he said. 

-- David Ng

Photo: Paul Fryer's "The Privilege of Dominion." Courtesy: London Evening Standard

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