Ulrike Müller and Manuela Ammer

The Animal Within


The Animal Within – Creatures in (and outside) the mumok Collection

With more than 200 artworks and 40 texts, The Animal Within raises the question of what kind of zoo the museum is. What is preserved, researched, displayed, and communicated in each of these places? And in whose interest? Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, The Animal Within uses the popular appeal of animals in the era of social media to reflect on the nature of sex, hunger, and affection, as well as on family and gender relations, socialization and domestication, and, not least, on the enduring impact of colonial histories.

Rejecting the authoritative setting of the “exhibition catalogue” and art history’s gestures of taming and framing, this compendium of pictures and stories points to shared ideas and structural questions rather than achievements by individual artists. It features works of art as illustrations and material, and takes its cues from children’s books and medieval bestiaries, whose efforts to order the world precede modern categorizations. Viewed in this light, the museum appears not only as a kind of zoo but also as a trap, and what “captivates” us there also holds us captive in liberal humanist fantasies of freedom and autonomy.

Edited by Manuela Ammer and Ulrike Müller
360 pages, 29,7 × 21 cm, softcover, numerous color illustrations
With a preface by Karola Kraus, an introduction by Manuela Ammer and Ulrike Müller, texts by Fahim Amir, Jack Halberstam, Eva Hayward, Johanna Hedva, Bhanu Kapil, Joni Murphy, Kathryn Scanlan, Kalpana R. Seshadri, Kerstin Stakemeier, Oxana Timofeeva, and Tatsiana Zamirovskaya, as well as short texts by Manuela Ammer, Ulrike Müller, and Jörg Wolfert
Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Köln, 2022

ISBN 978-3-7533-0323-9 (publisher)