Good enough to eat?

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The Independent Online
Why did the chicken cross the road? At last we can reveal the answer. It was trying to get away from Carina Weidle, the Brazilian-born, Goldsmith's-educated artist whose materials come oven-ready. You may remember Weidle's recent masterpiece Olympic Chickens - 10 colour photographs in which defrosted, plucked and trussed chickens variously pole vault, swim, weightlift, hurdle, dive and throw the javelin. It's uncanny how like the human form a beheaded chicken can look. Uncanny and also unpleasant. Needless to say, Olympic Chickens is now in the Saatchi Collection. But for anyone who missed out when it was first shown, Weidle's latest exhibition includes another printing of the original work.

The artist is more accustomed to working in three dimensions. For Fan, she created an electric fan incapable of blowing air. Tongue, apparently a huge ox tongue, is, in fact, a cast of the artist's back in red plastic. You get the idea. Such dualities are present in all Weidle's work and it is hardly surprising that she should have written her thesis at Goldsmith's on "humour". Thus, in Olympic Chickens the artist is actually tapping into the irony of having the limp, dead flesh imitate the macho activities of the Olympic athlete. The poultry pumps iron and we fall about. But is there also a sinister subtext? Could it be, as the inscrutable Sarah Kent suggests in the Saatchi catalogue, that "the message is Zen as well as blackly humorous"? Certainly it is possible to detect an element of fowl play. But you could always just enjoy them because, as Bernard Matthews would say, "they're bootiful".

IAIN GALE

Todd Gallery, 1-5 Needham Rd, London W11 (0171-792 1404) to 29 Jul

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