• TEST
    However Incongruous | 2007
    Fibreglass sculpture. Length 10.5 feet, Height 5.25 feet, Girth 3 feet
    Gulbenkian Gardens| Lisbon
    Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Yorkshire

    Lisbon, at the heart of the former Portugese maritime empire, was once an enormous depot for the trade, exchange and display of exotic animals, an index of the empire’s global reach. It was also perhaps in a Lisbon garden that Albrecht Dürer came across rumours of the Indian rhinoceros named Gainda sometime in 1515 that he would immortalize in his woodcut titled ‘Rhinoceros’. Gainda (transported from India) was intended as a gift from King Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo Xth, as a bribe, that he hoped would curry favour with the Pope in the course of his arbitration of the new worlds in America and Asia between the rival powers of Spain and Portugal. Gainda the rhinoceros, far from his native habitat in the grasslands of Gujarat on the west coast of India (where no rhinoceroses remains today) was lost at sea while being transported to the pope from Lisbon. 

    The sculpture in the garden is a life size, three dimensional rendition of Dürer’s rhinoceros transformed into a carrousel carriage. 

    Gardens and menageries have a historic connection, and most collections of exotic animals began as the side attractions of historic gardens. Gardens have memories. The Gulbenkian Gardens stand on a piece of land that was once used for a fun-fair. What is now a quiet and serene garden, an organic machine designed for leisurely contemplation, would once have been a busy, bustling, noisy place site for the carnivalesque. 

    A space as potent as a fairground creates its own force field of images that haunt the grounds even when the function of the space is transformed with time. The sudden re-appearance of Gainda the lost rhinoceros in the Gulbenkian Gardens allows the space to be comfortably haunted by its own past, for the memory of the fair-ground and lost beasts to stake a claim to the present serenity of 
    the garden. 

    The rhinoceros acts as a sturdy transport to lost and imagined realities, a unicorned gatekeeper of fantasies, a beastly companion on a leisurely stroll in a garden that can turns into a secret adventure — of the kind that repeats itself in dreams.