There is no higher life.
This is the only life there is.
Which we share with animals.
When he opened his eyes again, the world had turned into flickering dots. Shocked, he blinked and tried to focus his gaze, and when his sight had cleared, he saw the fox. It was standing on the opposite bank, watchfully sizing up the human being.
Animals dominate the visual world in Gabriela Oberkofler’s oeuvre: birds, insects, foxes, sheep, and horses—animals that attract the artist’s attention above all when she finds them injured or dead. Oberkofler depicts unspectacular moments, the fateful, quotidian agony in a world manipulated by human beings. Beautiful images with radical subject matter. In that respect they are part of an art historical tradition in which the animal played an important role from the start—though always in relation to humans, in its function for humans, as a symbol of human passions, or as personification of the Other that poses a threat to us. The representation of animals in today’s visual culture has indeed caused the original meaning of the animal in our culture to disappear.3In the accompanying ideology, animals are always the observed. The fact that they can observe us has lost all significance. They are the objects of our ever-extending knowledge. What we know about them is an index of our power, and thus an index of what separates us from them. The more we know, the further away they are.
Text by Andrea Jahn