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Patrick Goddard: Pedigree review

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Patrick Goddard at Seventeen Gallery. Photo by Damian Griffiths
Patrick Goddard at Seventeen Gallery. Photo by Damian Griffiths

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This place is a pig sty. Patrick Goddard has turned the gallery into an animal cage, filled it with hay bales and deep red heat lamps. But guess what – big twist – there are no pigs here because the animal is you. Didn’t see that coming, did ya. 

The pig pen plays host to a dark, acerbic black and white film about a rude little talking dog and its owner navigating a near future where there is no wild, no wilderness. There’s just humanity and its zoos and pets. It’s nature, contained and constrained.

The duo visits the zoo, debates whether or not you’d want meerkats swarming your local leisure centre, questions ideas of pedigree, and asks things like ‘do bears have the internet’? 

The dog, it turns out, is a bit of a shit. There are heavy hints of nimbyism to his character, little touches of Little England fascism coursing through his political views. He’s looking out at a crap, unequal, destroyed world, and still sneering at it.

Outside the film installation, there are a couple of drawings and a wall covered in a rain of frogs. It’s a little plague descending on humanity, the wild returning, whether you want it or not.

The film could feel like some kind of plea to unshackle humanity, to return to nature, to re-wild ourselves and our society. Like Goddard is an art world unabomber. And there’s obviously a tension here between the idea of restrained culture and human instinct, a battle between nature and nurture. But it’s not quite that clear cut. Goddard isn’t saying we need to reconnect with our wild human base instincts, but he’s not saying we shouldn’t either. The film, instead, feels like a little sneaky attack on the slow creep of totalitariansim, on the sneery Tory objectors and proto-fascists who see the world in the state it’s in and want to drag it down even further. 

It's funny, clever, and incredible negative. And despite all its rage, it's still just some art in a cage.

Eddy Frankel
Written by
Eddy Frankel


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