Polly Morgan’s controversial exhibition at Void on Patrick Street has been extended until October 12, due to huge public demand.
Polly’s work is globally renowned and basically involves taxidermy, but not in its usual guise.
Instead of lifeless animals stuffed and silent, her pieces each convey inherent stories - they retain a narrative and give each creature a new lease of life. From pheasant chicks suspended by tiny brightly coloured balloons, to a telephone receiver in which the heads of half a dozen tiny chicks appear to burst forth, intent on chatter.
Polly Morgan was in the city for the first time on Friday past for a special artists talk at Void. While here, the artist spoke to the ‘Journal’ about her career.
“All my work involves taxidermy, but I see it as contemporary art and would call myself an artist rather than a taxidermist,” Polly says. “ What I do breaks out of the strict tradition of taxidermy. There, they want to render the animal as accurately as possible and preserve it, whereas I like to take the limbs of animals and experiment more. I have always seen it as a form of recycling really! I always hated waste and this is making something of stuff that would otherwise just degrade. What I like about taxidermy is that you can hang onto that moment, between death and rotting and capture that beauty in between.”
Polly wasn’t working as an artist until she stumbled upon taxidermy by chance. “I had graduated from college and was actually working in a bar in Shoreditch, East London, which was quite a hub for artists living in that area. I fell in with an artistic crowd and, in a way, I think it’s almost accidental that I did end up there.”
With no training in the arts, Polly never regarded herself as an artist as such.
I didn’t come from that background, and so for that reason I never really saw myself as an artist even though I was always making things.
“I always tried creative things, and had some journalistic experience and had tried so many things trying to find out what I wanted to do.
“It was only when I learned taxidermy - which was just one thing in a long list of things I had tried out - I suddenly felt more inspired than I had ever been and realised that I had found my niche.
“By nature I’m quite a competitive person and, surrounded by all these successful artists, I thrived knowing that I was doing something that nobody else was doing. It really shocked me to hear the feedback - I was totally accepted and had an instant positive reaction. It all snowballed from there.”
Since her first proper exhibition eight years ago, Polly has never looked back. “I have been working consistently for nearly eight years now,” she says.
“It never occurred to me that I would end up a full-time artist. I felt a bit if a fraud, to be honest, because I knew so many people who had studied so hard at their art. It all happened to me a little too easily, and I felt I didn’t really deserve it. That just made me work harder.”