Animal Within
Explaining the Bizarre & Ludicrous in Modern Art

By C. J. Hollins
November 2010
Book Guild
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
ISBN: 9781846245046
175 pages, Illustrated
$37.50 Hardcover

Modern art is a hot topic. Everyone has an opinion about Damien Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde, or Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. In The Animal Within Christopher Hollins unpicks the reasons why art has taken such an apparently bizarre and controversial turn in recent years. In laying out his startling new theory of modern art he shows how human intellect has marginalised the animal instinct in all art forms.

This is the ‘animal within’, which has been pushed to the back of the modern mind, and artists are particularly attuned to respond to it. Condemning modern trends in art as mere worthless attention-seeking is too superficial a response. Hollins shows how the roots of these apparently new ideas in fact stretch back into human pre-history. The very process of evolution has hard-wired us to make these kinds of images in an attempt to free the mind from our overbearing intellectualism. Our fascination with the shock of the new stems directly from our genetic heritage. The Animal Within explains Modern art as an attempt to look beyond our intelligence to rediscover an ‘animal’ sensation of objects and events we still possess in the oldest, deepest parts of our mind.


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