Zoo Stirs Up Your Animal Emotions; Art

Article excerpt


A TIGER stares through the glass wall of its cage at a group of taunting young people just a few feet away.

For a few minutes they just look at each other then the tiger rears up and snarls at them and they jump back. After a few more minutes he leaps forward and again they scatter.

Richard Billingham's Zoo, a sequence of video installations at Compton Verney, stirs strong emotions.

Billingham came to public attention with some amazing photos of his Black Country family but this new project shows he has switched to moving images with equal powers of observation.

Giraffes lick the walls of their cage as though eating leaves from a tree. A lion lies ignored in a tiny cage as a family chat in front of it and a polar bear walks into its "cave" and then reverses out again repeatedly.

The footage was filmed at zoos in the UK, Europe and South America and it's impossible not to be disturbed and moved by the exhibition.

Compton Verney's other new exhibition, Vive La Parisienne: Women Through the Eyes of the Impressionists is almost light relief by comparison. …