Claude Kuhn, Satirisches. Der Fisch im Schafspelz, 2011 (Detail), © Claude Kuhn

The Fish in Sheep's Clothing

Animals play different and often contradictory roles in our lives. In both literature and theater, as well as in the visual arts and in arts and crafts, the motif of the animal has been used for millennia as a vessel filled with multiple meanings. In the collection of Museum Folkwang, the depictions range from tile decorations to the design of a hood ornament. Just as Pinocchio encounters the cunning fox and the smart cat in Carlo Collodi’s novel, animals become symbols due to their manifold characteristics. In pieces of jewelry or devotional objects, they transfer their powers to humans; in narratives and fairy tales, however, they also serve to caricature human characteristics. In this respect, the works exhibited here often serve as mirror for us humans.

For more details on the displayed objects click on Axle 1 to 23.