Nicolas Primat: Between Species

Vernissage on Friday 3th of November at 7 pm // Exhibition form 4th untill 12th of November 2017

Wild Child – Nicolas Primat was the only artist in the world who specialised in working with monkeys and apes. This long-standing interest has included ongoing residencies at the Primatology station, CNRS, Marseille, working with baboons (Papio anubis), at the Pasteur Institute, Guyana, working with squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) and at Apenheul, Holland, working with bonobos (Pan paniscus)

Working to enrich the lives of monkeys in captivity, Primat showed a sensitive and intuitive approach to the animals he collaborated with. Noting that primate caregivers always wore footwear, he would venture into the habitat of the monkeys barefoot, letting them crawl over him and play with him. This playful nature informed his work, but it had a serious intent behind it. Primat used artistic interpretations of his interaction with other species to provoke thought into our attitudes and understanding of other species, in terms of how we might communicate with one another and what this revealed about similarities and differences and how this related to our attitudes to medical research and other uses of animals.

Primat started working with animals at the age of 14 as a young farm-worker. He saw his rural background and early intuitive contact with animals as integral to his work. Primat’s work began with a residency at CNRS Marseilles, working with tribes of baboons. His short film Portrait Du Famille showed the artist being groomed by the tribe after many months of gaining acceptance. He spent long periods of times with the animals learning to communicate with them in order to be accepted. Primat’s practice included video, sculpture, photography installation and performance. He exhibited internationally, most recently in the exhibition ‚Neo-Futur‘ at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2008), a major one-person show at the Chateau De Taurines, Aveyron (2007), curated by Pascal Pique, and finally in The Arts Catalyst exhibition Interspecies, at Cornerhouse, Manchester. He stimulated a new debate in the world of art and science about the way we humans regard our closest relatives and was an inspiration for the Interspecies exhibition.

Nicolas Primat died in Toulouse aged 42, in February 2009.


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