In her room, where there is such a mess, Sarah tells her pal a story that occured to her while drawing: the tale of a brown rabbit hunter who made friends with lions. It relates the intellectual adventure of Marcel Griaule, the founder of ethnographic research in France. Fascinated by the mystery of the masks and the very rich ritual life, he devoted himlself to the study of the Dogon, helped by several collaborators. With each new trip, he deepened his knowledge of this extraordinarily complex religion.
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Share Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter. Camille Henrot The Pale Fox. Agnes Nave 5. Press Release:. Ogo the fox is sad. The other deities were born twins. But unlike his siblings, Ogo emerged from the womb alone. Watch as the loneliness of Ogo turns into sadness, his sadness into anger, and his anger into chaos. Today, we can hear the pale fox in the okra fields, dancing with a hat he crafted from the hulls of string beans.
Seen from the blue-white light of the screen, how dark the world looks! How ripe for foraging! To his siblings, Ogo the forager remains chaotic and impudent. He likes to insult the Almighty God, who hates his recalcitrance.
Yet such contempt only spurs on Ogo in his trickery. The fox persists in his disruption. And we, too, must listen to his dancing. To Ogo, the pale fox - does he know?
But the joke, seen today, was on such forager-figures - as lonely and sad as the pale fox, who continues to deceive them. For her exhibition The Pale Fox, Camille Henrot - inspired by both this figure of disruptive imbalance, and the ethnographical context from which he was analyzed in the last century - presents a room-sized architectural display system filled with found and constructed materials and objects.
Each of the four walls of the space relates to a natural element, to a philosophical principle of Leibniz, to a stage of life, and to a cardinal point on a compass. Yet the order begets disorder, and the eponymous fox emerges from the chaotic, creation-in-destruction of such heaps of matter: bronze and ceramic casts, found and eBay-sourced photographs and books, National Geographic back issues, bound newspapers, primitivist sculptures, two sliced-open watermelons, city skylines, drawings, novelty mugs.
We other primitives - are we all foragers? Or are we dancers like Ogo, albeit with tools for hats, shelves for our fields? When Griaule, the anthropologist, died in , and the gods smiled down upon him, he was still unsure as to whether the Dogon had invented the zodiac later diffused throughout the world , or if the Dogons had stolen it from an ancient culture. Griaule could cease in his wondering; the Dogons, tickled or admiring, performed their own funerary rite for him.
In lieu of his body, though, they employed as the focal point of their ceremony a white mannequin they constructed, fitted with pith helmet, notebook and drawing instrument. Amid this, the pale fox continued dancing in the fields. Camille Henrot born lives and works in New York.
On the Tracks of the Pale Fox (researches in the Dogon country 1931-1983)
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali , in West Africa , south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara and in Burkina Faso. The population numbers between , and , The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions , their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organisation, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions. The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment , a sandstone cliff of up to m 1, Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago. Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment.