For the Busan Biennale Kenny Hunter is revisiting a work he made in 1994/1995.The work was the beginning of a long standing interest the artist has with making animal sculpture. Hunter sees animals as a means for describing societal changeor cultural value. He is less interested in rendering realistic looking animals and more interested in what other messages they can carry or the metaphorical meaning of the animal, though the works do have a certain pop realist aesthetic.
The work is entitled Churchill? Dogs, taking its name from Britain? war-time leader and references his depression, which he described as his "black dog". The first version of the piece was made it at a time when Margaret Thatcher was in power and as Hunter says "When Britain was coming to terms with a post-colonial reality of reduced power and increasing social problems." This relates to what the artist was seeing on the streets of Edinburgh, where there was a proliferation of attack dogs, such as Rottweilers and Dobermans and other similar breeds. This was in direct contrast to the experience of Hunter? childhood in the mid 1960s to late 1970s, when "more decorative and benign" dog breeds such as Poodles and Afghan hounds where the norm. The artist sees the change in dog breeds in the same way as changes in the style of cars being made or haircuts being worn, as he says, "it indicates other values that are currently at play within society." Hunter read this change in breeds as highlighting a more defensive culture, less communal than it had been previously. He also relates this societal shift to the influence of Margaret Thatcher.
Originally from Edinburgh, Kenny Hunter studied sculpture at Glasgow School of Art, 1983-7.The winner of the EAST Award in 1993 and a recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2006; he has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally and has won several prestigious commissions for public sculpture in Scotland. His work in Glasgow includes the Cherub and Skull, Tron Theatre (1999), The Calf, Graham Square (1999), and Citizen Firefighter, Gordon Street (2001). His work is represented in the Scottish Parliament, the British School in Athens, The British Council, SNPG, SNGMA and GOMA.
ⓒCedar Lewisohn _ Programmer, Tate Media