Here you can read about the background to this event and learn what later happened to the sculptures in each of the twenty European cities. The article is dedicated to the Press, various action groups and those members of the public who have striven to find a suitable location for the sculptures displaced by the local authorities. As well to many other persons who have been most curious to know about the outcome of the Inner Beast project. You are most welcome to copy the article and circulate it as you please.
Finally you will find a list of facts about the event including information concerning the current whereabouts of the Beast and who is responsible for its presence in each of the cities.
Galschiøt Christophersen, sculptor
DK-5270 Odense N
|Ph.: + 45 - 66 18 40 58
Fax: + 45 - 66 18 41 58
background to the event
The event is a succes
What happened in the different cities?
The Beast - a bomb?
The final at Plaza Rei Juan Carlos 1, Barcelona, Spain
The Beast "disappeared"
In the North
A big economic loss
The event is not complete
During three cold November days in 1993 the inhabitants of twenty European cities awoke one morning to a startling surprise. On the major square of each city a tall (more than 2 metres) dark figure was erected, representing an evil-looking pig adorned in human clothing. A brassplate at the base read (amongst other things) that this was 'My Inner Beast', a creature with "the lowest of instincts which grow in proportions when human beings are led to violence, degrade the origins of ethical values and which can overtake one person and in extreme cases a whole population!" There it was. Sinister, but recognisable in its human-like form. As if confronted by a mirror, one stood almost face-to-face with an unmistakable symbol of the ugliest side of the human character. As an entirely peaceful artistic event, the erection took place anonymously without warning during two and a half days throughout the twenty cities. Meanwhile telefaxed copies were pouring into the local police and the mayor of the city. Here the pseudonym Cogito (which means I think in Latin) explained that the purpose of this event was to create attention to the growth of violence, intolerance, racism and minority persecution which persist in Europe every day. It was also announced that the sculpture was in fact a gift to the city and it was suggested that one should allow the sculpture to remain in the square for two weeks to emphasise, from the city (authorities), that the problem of racism is to be taken seriously.
Sites were chosen so as to show the significance of democracy, liberty and justice. Thus, for example, the sculpture was placed at La Place de la Bastille in Paris, before the United Nations building in Geneva and before the Norwegian "Rigsdag". The site was completely unofficial since prior authorisation was never requested. The group of activists merely arrived at the city centre, planted the sculpture and drove on to the next city. This grotesque creature carrying the humanistic message caused people everywhere to stop on their way to work, caused the mayor to scratch his head and the police to wonder how they could possibly dispose of one ton's worth of sculpture - origin unknown!
The sculptor Jens Galschiøt Christophersen, who was assisted by hundreds of volunteers and happens to be the gentleman behind this whole event, explains: "The inner Beast symbolises tendencies within ourselves that grows under pressure and make us forget the most fundamental (human) principles. I am afraid it will happen - and at the moment I see these tendencies in Europe where the contrasts are growing steadily in our Societies: the privileged on the one hand in affluent Europe and on the other hand, the poor, the destitute, the refugees of war and immigrants of differing religious creeds. The question is how long we willingly ignore and tolerate this problem. Will we end up building another Berlin Wall, this time encircling the affluent and peaceful Europe, and if so, do we still qualify to call ourselves a nation representing democratic, human, ethical and moral principles?
My idea was to show that it is our "Inner Beast" that threatens Europe today, and not the poor or destitute. It is something within ourselves we have reasons to fear-and not the others. It is the " Inner Beast" that gradually undermines the foundations of our ethical values obscuring our recognition of the democratic and humanistic principles on which the European community is founded. And this has to include everybody -if we are to sustain our society as it is and completely dispel totalitarianism".And he continues: "As an artist I don't really have an answer to this difficult problem, but I feel a strong obligation to intervene in my own kind of way. I have visually tried to express my own fear of the Europe evolving these days. Therefore I have designed the sculptures as ugly, almost repulsive in fact, but in a figure in which we recognise a bit of ourselves. And I decided to have them appear out of nowhere, as does racism; all of a sudden , without warning, on a square in the centre of the city which we pass dai- ly."
The twenty 'Inner Beasts' still spread around the European continent have created commotion of some sort wherever they have appeared. Thousands of people have passed by the sculpture, have read the inscription on the plate, or have seen and heard of the event on TV where pictures of it were used as a symbol, or they read about it in the newspapers. 'My inner Beast' succeeded in different ways pin-pointing the complexity and the dilemmas associated with the problems of racism and refugees in Europe. By looking at ourselves - our own "Beast" - all across Europe at the same time, the event revealed that racism and intolerance are common problems to all of Europe and indeed to one's own person.That the provocation arose from somewhere not expected (from the world of art), implied that the debate was not over party-politics, but about a deeply rooted human predicament: What is happening to our ethical and humanistic concepts in a Europe which is becoming more and more racist and intolerant? The "Beast" as manifestation became a concrete image of racism provoking a further contribution to an often one-eyed debate about racism. The event was indeed a success.
There have been many and varying reactions to the sculpture in the eleven counties. In most places the sculpture was allowed to remain the two weeks requested by the artist. Elsewhere, it was quickly removed, locked up, taken to a lost-property office and/or stored somewhere. In several cities it actually remained for several months until a permanent home was found for the sculpture in recognition of the terribly important questions it brings to mind. In yet other places, the sculpture was either ignored or hidden.The "Beasts" have had many different functions depending on their fate. In Copenhagen, for instance, a tenant's association has erected it at a smaller local square and in Bonn it has been placed outside a famous art gallery. In Copenhagen it 's given rise to a debate within the city, whereas in Bonn, it's considered art with a big "A"- but despite its location it will function as both things simultaneously.
No matter what happens to the sculpture, it will symbolise the handling of the problem in each country. This is the whole idea behind the event itself. There may be different reasons for ignoring it in some places. One reason being that in many countries it is both controversial and dangerous to discuss racism.Jens Galschiøt remarks: " Even where it has been locked away - as in Milan, ignored as in France, and not forgetting the diplomatic city of Geneva where it simply disappeared - it still functioned as a symbol. It must be the decision of each city what to do with their "Inner Beast". I am not the one to decide. If the country does not want it, then it is up to the local citizens, some organisation, a private person, or whoever with a good idea as to where to place it, to react accordingly. They can contact the authorities in question and pick it up. "The artist goes on to say: "No doubt there are people around Europe who believe that these sculptures need to be seen in order to make the debate topical.
The event caused a great deal of confusion among the police and the authorities across Europe. The mayor's office hardly receives phone calls daily about a pig-like sculpture which is part of a - trans-European happening staged by an anonymous artist! It has been a problem that some countries in Southern Europe , do not in fact associate racism and violence with the image of a pig (the expression is originally from the German "Schweinhund"). Most unfortunate since the problems are common in these countries. Italy, for instance, after their elections, or in France where anti-Semitic tensions and riots between the French and immigrants are common. But the expression "The Inner Beast" as a translation of "Inner Schweinhund" makes sense in the Southern European languages, and creates a whole new vocabulary regarding racism and national chauvinism in those countries.
In Milan the sculpture caused great disturbance. Shortly after being erected, it was driven to a safe place in order to be examined for bombs. As written in the press, it had been placed near the residence of a judge. A philosopher, an art-critic and a political commentator expressed their views on the phenomenon in the newspapers. One believed that it was a German who had plotted this event. The precision at which the erection of the figure was carried out, the long dark coat, the very obvious pedagogic message of the sculpture and then the presence of a blond girl in the vicinity of the sculpture, led several witnesses to declare it a "typical German sort of action." To the Italians, such precision, black coats and blond girls seem to equate possible terrorist bombs!This problematic aspect of the "Beast" in Italy has increased after the last elections where the fascist right-wing gained a surprisingly large number of votes and for the first time since World-War II, a number of recognised fascists entered the parliament. Perhaps the reason why the mayor's office will not comment on the event and has placed the sculpture in a storage.
Neither was there any attempt to obtain permission in Barcelona. But the in-tended placement was announced in advance as it was time to reveal who actually was behind the pseudonym Cogito. As a result, the sculpture was erected on the "Plaza Rei Juan Carlos 1" in the presence of a large turn out of the Press including all of the Spanish TV-channels. That same evening, My Inner Beast or Mi Bestia Interior as it is called, appeared on the news on TV and in the papers the fol-lowing morning. During the three days it stood, many curious by-passers stop-ped to look, perhaps in the memory of the "Beast" mentality of the dictator Franco only 20 years ago. Or perhaps in the hope that the present fascist right-wing party in Spain never again obtains power.
Maybe it is due to their historical tradition that Germany and Austria have accepted the Beast more sympathetical ly. "My Inner Beast" now stands in Bonn in the garden near Kunst- und Austellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. "Here it will be seen by the public and here it will remain", confirmed the museum in Bonn. And in Berlin, in the most "sacred" places of re-united Germany, the sculpture was standing by the Brandenburger Tor until the beginning of February, 1994. Though none of the various municipal offices we have been communicating with, seems to know where it is at the moment.Things were a little different in southern Germany. In Munich the mayor announced that if the person responsible should turn up in Munich, he would be obliged to repay the large expenses the municipal has had. The problem has been solved! The federal republic is rid of their "Beast". Following many enquiries from persons wanting to acquire the sculpture, a lady who collects "pigs from all over" finally wound up with it. She picked up the sculpture at a lost property office in Munich and accordingly paid the expenses demanded! It now stands in her garden, is called Edward, and is the source of many a discussion among passers-by. She agrees entirely with the philosophy of the event, but is pleased with the fact that the sculpture, being 2.3 metres high, is now the tallest in her collection!The mayor Romuald Niescher of Innsbruck in Austria sent a very nice letter thanking for the surprising gift. To the Austrian Press he has stated that it is a "remarkable way of being reminded of one's own inner "Beast". Consequently, he has asked the municipal Department of Culture to find a placement for the sculpture and he has invited Jens Galschiøt on a visit to Innsbruck, all expenses paid. The sculpture now stands in the "Rapoldi-park" where it was officially erected in December 1994.As well in Barcelona the Beast now has a permanet place. An active official has worked on the case and in the autumn of 1994 it was put up in a park in the area of 'Les Corts'where a reception was made.
In Denmark, the artist's homeland, the sculpture and its message was generally well received and has been a source of much debate among the people. Besides, it's been shown extensive attention from the TV, radio and both the left-and right-winged Press.In the four cities Aarhus, Copenhagen, Herning and Odense, the sculpture remained on the main squares for five months. The civil authorities do not agree with the artist's lack of request for permission, but they have expressed a positive attitude towards the event. They have allowed the sculpture to stand longer than the requested fourteen days and have co-operated with the local people in finding a permanent home. One of Copenhagen's deputy mayors remarks in a letter, "his respect for the artistic creativity and the large work resources put into the project and expresses his agreement with the overall theme."In Odense the sculpture has been moved to a gymnasium/high school where the themes this school-year is "Racism" and "the foreigners and us"! In Aarhus the sculpture is placed in a housing estate and in Herning it stands outside a theatre. Prior to these decisions many a proposal was made as to the whereabouts of the "Beast". In addition to high schools and art galleries, the Zoo was recommended "as a place where the sculpture would make the visitors reflect on the difference between man and beast". When it was suggested that an art gallery adopted the sculpture, the director of Aarhus's Art Gallery, Erik Sørensen, expressed: "The message of the sculpture is of such strong character that if the sculpture were to be put aside or not allowed to exist in its own right, it would be tied to the aesthetic frame the gallery represents. It has to be placed where it can have its own space that will create an effect visible to the city and to the memory of mankind."The sculpture acquired such a site in C openhagen. Despite vandalism it stood in the busiest square "Rådhuspladsen" for about five months and in March 1994 it was moved to its new home - a square in a residential area, Inner Nørrebro - where the residents are a mixture of Danes and immigrants who probably experience both solidarity and racism daily. "My Inner Beast" was welcomed at an official inauguration. Not so long ago, the sculpture was beheaded, much the same thing that happened to the "Little Mermaid", Denmark's nationalsymbol, years ago. The "Beast" was overturned and headless for a while, but has regained it's head and has been solidly bolted to the pavement.
The sculpture symbolising the less sympatic sides of our character, have apparently been too direct for other European__ countries. In Marseille, Paris, Amsterdam and Antwerp, the city councils won't even admit that they have witnessed an artistic happening."Amsterdam did not participate in this...", the Press-representative in Amsterdam declared, even though the newspapers in Holland showed large pictures of curious Dutch inspecting the sculpture on the main square the day after the event.In the city of Antwerp (the "Cultural City" of 1993), the mayor Bob Cool has on other occasions discussed the role of culture in relation to the problem of racism (although he seems to have been unaware of the " Beast" incident). The mayor's office hurriedly send the relevant material to those "normally dealing with such matters", the now resigned cultural secretary and the city's art museums. However, they were somewhat confused about the whole thing. In both cities the sculpture has been deposited in a warehouse with no further action taken or intended.In Brussels on the other hand, they are trying to find a permanent site for the sculpture. This will happen as soon as the case has been considered by the municipality.
For how long the "Beast" was allowed to remain on the Bastille Square (the monument for the French Revolution) is not quite clear. The Cultural Department in Paris, have requested a picture, so the matter can be examined. And whatever happened to the substantial amount of publicity sent to the mayor's office, the cultural ministry and the Press, we do not know. It is somewhat remarkable since the sculpture was placed in three cities one of which was Marseille where the right-wing politician Le Pen holds some popularity.In any case, the problem of racism is not unknown to the French. Lately we've seen numerous examples, e.g. the Algerian-French citizens refused entry to France due to the expanding Civil War in the previous French colony Algiers. Or the Parisian police zealously checking the driver's passports and papers, seemingly following the principle - the darker complexion, the more suspicious. Not to mention, viewed as a simple Human Right, the absurd discussion on girls´ rights to wear head scarf or not, on streets or at school! But strangely enough it is not only the authorities who finds the "Beast" problematic. The French journalists are the only ones in Europe to ignore the event. Perhaps, because the concept "My inner Beast" is not understood in the French culture. But isn't it more likely due to the controversial character of the subject?
This lack of debate has among other things been the reason why some French intellectuals initiated a "Sarajevo list" in order to infuse a public debate - also in the press - about the future of Europe, where Human Rights are offended as part of the normal agenda. Obviously we are thinking of Ex-Yugoslavia.
In Geneva there was no press-coverage either for the hundreds of diplomats who may have passed by the Beast" on their way to the UN building. The sculpture was planted in front of the main entrance and suddenly the nightmare of any Swiss bureaucrat became reality; No one knew where the sculpture was taken or where it might be found. There is no record of it anywhere, not even at the police: "We regret that your sculpture has disappeared. You may lodge a complaint with the authorities", replied Geneva's state council in a letter to the artist, and it is claimed that they are trying to locate the "Beast" in the UN-city. In Zurich they did in fact realise who was handling the case but the exact whereabouts of the sculpture is unknown and no one knows for sure what will hap pen.
Norway and Sweden also allowed the sculpture to stay for more than the requested fourteen days. Determining the destiny of the sculpture was taken up by the respective city councils, resulting in a long series of discussions.In Oslo the sculpture was exposed for one month but the authorities did not find its artistic quality adequate to merit a home in one of the city's art galleries, although the culture department emphasises that the sculpture is securely housed in a warehouse and as far as they are concerned anybody is welcome to take it over."We think it was an impressive and meaningful concept' stated the municipality of Stockholm. "The sculpture is still standing at Drottningsgatan, but when the event ends it must be removed and we would like the artist to take it away". Feb. the 1.st. 1995 the sculpture was removed by the authorities, but it can easily be brought back if anyone should initiate it.
The project "My Inner Beast" has been both costly and time-consuming with the artist having to stand funds out of his own pocket. We still have a loss of more than 100.000 Danish kr., even with assistance provided from various sources. The artist will be most thankful of further contributions to cover the losses.
It is not the intention of Jens Galschiøt to pick up the sculptures. The "Beasts" live on.... wherever they are. "They were intended as gifts to the cities and as such one do not take them back. The ideal thing is for all of them to be placed at full exposure and to stir reactions. But this is left to each city to decide. In those places where it is ignored one can only hope that there are some citizens who choose to be aware of the "Inner Beast" predicament rather than never to acknowledge it", says Galschiøt.
The artist has one sculpture left and would like to plant it on the Red Square in Moscow, but on this occasion as an "official" event. He is currently in co-operation with local Moscow's applying for permission at the mayors. The scaring tendencies of nationalism and the harsh treatment of minorities has become manifest by the comparative success of Sjirinovski who reaped 25% of the votes at the latest election. "By placing the sculpture officially in Moscow, the official Russia will make the statement that they are aware of the dangerous totalitarian development, which these tendencies represent. I will acknowledge that Western Europe has a responsibility for the things going on in Russia. As long as we are not prepared to open our markets or support them financially, the crisis will worsen. And economic crisis are often the cause of racism. It is not an easy task to build a democracy on those terms", concludes Galschiøt!
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