A rat biting its own tail – a metaphor for the human condition. Rats are predators, and like all other animals, they think of their own survival first. So rats charge ruthlessly through the environment, destroying everything in their way, just as we humans do. Of course, we’re much worse – we’re destroying the planet, even ruining it for ourselves (as well as for all other species).
We exploit and greedily consume the Earth’s resources for our own profit. At the same time, we generate poisons that will eventually leave the planet without clean water or air. It’s a very short-term approach, destroying the chances of long-term survival for our own species as well as all others. What’s really stupid is that despite knowing all this, we lack the ability to stop our unsustainable, devastating behaviour, which has gone on for decades. Now some are trying to slow things down and contain the damage, but far from all. The snowball is rolling, faster and faster, and it’s impossible to stop. But we have to do as much as possible to at least slow down the snowball as it gets blacker and blacker.
Biting one’s own tail is a metaphor for heading in the wrong direction. The rat is a portrait of humankind, symbolising this dystopia we’ve built. I made it on a grand scale so we can observe it and shine a light on our foolishness. Our efforts to create more, better, cheaper and financial riches are devastating because they are so cynical.
In 1935, Walt Disney made a film called the Golden Touch. It was about a king who is granted a magic wish. He wishes that everything he touches would turn to gold. The wish comes true, but from that day on he can’t eat, drink or love anything at all, because everything he touches turns to gold. At first he is thrilled, but by the end he has lost everything. Naked and destitute, he sits on the ground in a pit where his castle once stood, after begging for a single hamburger in exchange for his kingdom and all of his gold. My sculpture is modelled directly in concrete on a frame of Styrofoam and mesh. The materials are not very sustainable – Styrofoam is plastic, after all. Concrete is a natural material, as is metal, but it takes energy to manufacture.
approximately 220 cm long, weight 250 kg