L’Anus Solaire

24ct Gold leaf on Photograph

In July 1927, the French writer-philosopher Georges Bataille visited London Zoo. As he was to write in his essay ‘The Jesuve’ perhaps three years later, it was here that he was overwhelmed ‘to the point of throwing me into a kind of ecstatic brutishness’. What prompted this extreme response was ‘the enormous anal fruit of radial and shit-smeared raw pink meat’ on show in the apes’ enclosure, a scene which embodied his investigations into ‘The Pineal Eye’ and ‘The Solar Anus’, to take the titles of two works from this period.

In July 2014, I took a number of photographs of the monkey enclosure at London Zoo and, in the spirit of economic and sacrificial excess so important to Bataille, on one image gilded the monkey's anus with 24ct gold leaf.