“Real” and “Fake”

The Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) graduate exhibition I attended last weekend was so inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the sculpture and mixed media sections.  Below I share with you my impression of one work that inspired me in particular.

Clara Urech’s piece was small and not very impressing at first sight. Compared to the more visually attractive and bigger sculptures of a female nude, felt cubes and big tree branches marked with tinny writing it did not draw my attention immediately. I was about to walk pass it but thankfully I decided to stop and examine it after all.

The piece consisted of two empty jars with red lids. Each jar contained a trapped, inert, butterfly inside. The two jars seemed identical at first sight. At a closer look however I could distinguish that one of the jars was a “real” jar and the other one was a “fake” jar. The “real” jar was a true glass jar probably originally containing some jam or pasta sauce. Inside it was a “real”, dead butterfly. The “fake” jar was a very careful imitation of the “real” one. It was made out of plastic and the lid was made out of material. The butterfly was also made out of material.

The questions that arise from the examination of this work regard reality and representation and the boundary between the perceived notions of what is real and what is an imitation or fake. How much less real is the representation if at all? What is the difference between the nature morte and a dead animal? Why does it seem to me (us?) that a dead animal is in a way more alive (less dead) then an inert object?

Within the question of authenticity is the question of an object’s history. How much does the past of something contribute to how we perceive it at present? There is also the question of material.

“There is more then meets the eye”, this works is about that more. It speaks about the difference of two objects that look the same. It is up to us to decide what that difference consists of.