Sculptor Christoph Steinbrener and photographer Reiner Dempf have modified the animal enclosures of the Vienaa Zoo for summer 2009 (June 10 – October 18) for their show Trouble in Paradise. Their show transforms the idealized wild setting in which animals into settings that contain some our activities that are endangering animal populations outside of zoos.
The artists describe their show as:
… A sunken car wreck at the rhinos, railroad tracks in the bison pen or toxic waste in the aquarium are unexpectedly interfering with our notions of idyllic wildlife. The viewer is forced to reconsider traditional modes of animal presentation and simultaneously to question the authenticity of concepts which are restaging ‘natural’ environments while they are increasingly endangered.
…Present-day conceptions of zoological gardens aim at the presentation of animals in an idyllic and apparently natural environment, untouched by civilization. But this is a contemporary conception, since courtly menageries and kennels were adapted to the exposure of animals as decorative objects. Until the early years of the 20th century, animals were part of a preferably spectacular and exotic staging, to the entertainment and amazement of the public. The artificial and the sensational were foregrounded, without creating a realistic setting of the natural environment of the animals.
All photos by Christoph Steinbrener and Rainer Dempf from their webpage.