O Rinoceronte de Dürer (Dürer's Rhinoceros), 2010
Super 16mm film transferred to high-definition video, color, stereo sound,
Duration 41'10 min.
Portuguese with English subtitles
Ed. of 5 + 2 AP

Exhibition view:
Javier Téllez "Rotations", Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, 2012

O Rinoceronte de Dürer (Dürer‘s Rhinoceronte), filmed in the panopticon of the Miguel Bombarda Hospital, Lisbon, takes its cue from Portuguese history. The king of Portugal Dom Manuel I. received the gift of a live rhinoceros in 1513. At the time, the animal was practically unknown in Europe. An account of the creature soon reached Nuremberg, inspiring the German artist Albrecht Dürer to depict the rhinoceros in his famous woodcut print, relying solely on the accounts relayed to him.
For this film, Javier Téllez worked with psychiatric patients, specifically from the day ward, who are the main actors. The film centers around the presence of an embalmed rhinoceros. This animal is pulled around the circular structure of the panopticon day and night, much to the amazement of the men and women who inhabit the cell-rooms.
Working with mental patients has been a constant feature in Javier Téllez' work. He has a familiarity and proximity with the world of mental illness, which allows him to create situations and art works in which patients appear with a grandeur and dignity that goes beyond the stereotypical image of persons with psychiatric problems. By transforming them into central characters the artist obliges us as spectators to look closely at their faces, to stare at them and ask to ourselves whether they are in fact really so very different from us.

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