Freya Pocklington

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Freya Pocklington is similarly interested in notions of self-contained worlds, from the state-of-nature theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to the constructed dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and music videos such as Wiley’s Rolex (2008). The artist’s Conté crayon drawings, animations and videos, present a dark bestiary in which the unexpected is the norm. As human stand-ins, Pocklington’s pooches are a ragbag affair: they are underdogs, but also over-dogs, empathetic but also merciless and inhumane. Some of the dogs appear to be merrymaking, others simply idle away their time in surreal isolation – a recurring motif is the beast trapped inside a bell jar, an image that recalls ideas of archive, preservation and airless museology. There have, of course, been numerous presentations of canines in fiction as moral fables: think of Argos, the faithful lead in Homer’s Odyssey who recognises the true hero upon his return; Buck, the protagonist of Jack London’s Call of the Wild (1903) who discovers his natural freedom; and Mikhail Bulgakov’s dismal proletarian antihero in Heart of a Dog (1925). In Pocklington’s art, dogs are somewhat different: they are freighted with the symbolic load of fable, but the message is left deliberately, potently, ambiguous.

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