An invasive animal species is one that invades a non-native territory. In the wild, it’s characterized as being ‘non-indigenous,’ where it becomes a catalyst in transforming environmental conditions. In essence, invasives overtake or dominate a territory previously occupied by others.
An Invasive in the Art World
Analogous to what occurs in nature, Anja Wülfing, a graphic design artist from Cologne, Germany might be considered the 'Mother of Invasive Art.'
Her unique artistic vision inserts large animals into black and white and sepia-toned portraits found in turn-of-the-century vintage photographs. In so doing, these invasive inclusions tend to turn the viewer’s eye away from the somber faces of its subjects to the creatures she imposes in each of these recreations.
The results are surprising additions. Painted in by Wülfing, they take the form of birds, such as crows, owls, ducks, roosters, and mammals that include dogs, cats and even a humorous donkey on occasion. The animals either join the members of the photograph or merge with its occupants. Other times, she actually replaces the heads of those posing to create hybrid man-animal creatures.
In her own words . . .
“Sometimes it’s a detail on the photograph,” says the German painter and graphic designer, “like a haircut, or a facial expression that reminds me of a specific animal.” Wülfing began to introduce these “visitors”, as she calls them, three years back, after finding a vintage portrait of an man and woman inside she purchased on eBay.
“I added oversized birds in between the photographed people and was surprised at how oddly natural it looked,” she explains. “I like the combination of the old and the humorous, the fact, the fiction, and the little feeling of discomfort.”
So, is ‘invasive art’ a new movement?
Time will tell, whether other artists will be influenced by Wülfing and will take her lead in moving ‘invasive art’ forward. To date, there is no formal movement under way. But it certainly has the possibility to catch on.
What are your thoughts? Comment below and let us know if you are familiar with Wülfing’s work, or any other artists that may be doing something similar in the world of 'invasive art'?