For months, photographs of Dutch artist Diddo's Ecce Animal has circulated the Internet, but there is still little known about the artist's sculpture—save for the fact that it's a commissioned piece made from gelatin mixed with street cocaine.
The artist had the drug sent to a laboratory to confirm the purity of the cocaine—so no, Diddo didn't dabble in it personally. After performing various tests, the pharmacists of the unnamed facility confirmed the presence of cocaine as well as other ingredients including "Phenacetin, Caffeine, Paracetamol, and a relative large percentage of sugars, most probably Mannitol or Inositol."
While Diddo's unconventional medium has sparked both disapproval and delight, the artist told Bullett his piece is "not intended to be parable on the self-destructiveness of addiction or substance abuse." Instead, he created the sculpture to trigger a conversation on the inherent qualities of human beings. " I don't want to over-intellectualize, but it's the fusion of two icons that provokes thought and discussion on the nature of man. Specifically, about his creation of, and participation in, a society which echoes his own tendency to lose control."
The only clue to Diddo's inspiration for creating the life-sized sculpture of a human skull and his personal outlook is a poem written by the artist, also entitled "Ecce Animal," below:
"Once we were animals.
Like any other, we lived in an environment of fear and want.
Then, we became 'human' and aspired to be better.
We learned to control our environment but the fear stayed,
because we never learned to control ourselves.
It is frightening to look at the face of our animal side laid bare
by comfortable excess; the spoils of its aggression.
But what exactly is it about this image that is so confronting?
Is it this division in our idea of self?
Or is it a realization that though we have mastered the outside world,
we will always remain subservient to our inner selves."
Perhaps Diddo made this sculpture simply to prompt viewers to pause and, quite literally, "look at the face of our animal side laid bare" as we continue attempting to tame our animalistic sides. However one might choose to interpret the artist's sculpture, Ecce Animal is unique in that it forces viewers to confront their inner selves.
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