Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hint: Opera Gallery)

Fantastic Beasts, Opera Gallery

Hybrid Forms

Robotic crocodile heads. Menacing tigers with mechanical skeletons. Sailing vessels with bows graced by magnificent rhino horns. No, we aren’t describing the set of a Guillermo del Toro flick, nor the storyboard of a Hayao Miyazaki anime. We’re talking about the fantastic beasts dreamed up by French sculptor Pierre Matter. Some of his hypothetical hybrids are now on show at Opera Gallery Singapore.

Scraps of Art

The 53-year-old, known in some circles as the scrap-metal sculptor, fashions his pieces from bronze, copper, aluminium and other metals. The sculptures explore the influence of technology on the human and natural world, a subject that’s become increasingly pertinent in an age of AI.

Just think of the replicants in Blade Runner or the cyborgs in Ghost in The Shell. Or any of the android concierges that seem to be taking over hotel lobbies the world over. “We live in a transitional epoch that makes and will make appear in our reality monstrous hybrid beings from mythology. Even the cows of the mountains are only milk machines,” Matter says in a statement.

Matter counts Enki Bilal, David Lynch, Hans Ruedi Giger, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Salvador Dali and Jules Verne as his main influences. Their works revolve around an increasingly imaginary world populated by machines. In his own imaginary world, Matter depicts the mechanised as extensions or prosthetics that seamlessly integrate into natural forms.

While the very thought of a human-robot hybrid might be terrifying to some, Matter’s fantastic beasts show the harmony that can exist between the organic and the mechanical. And that’s definitely worth a gander.

Pierre Matter at Opera Gallery Singapore
24 November to 10 December 2017
2 Orchard Turn
Ion Orchard
Singapore 238801