Camouflage XXXV is part of the larger Camouflage series of sculptures, all of which take the form of porcelain birds transformed or "camouflaged" by the artist. The birds Kendler sources are all vintage or antique, and often have portions which have cracked off and been glued back together. Kendler views these cared for, or even loved, objects as stand ins for real birds—surrogates for our desire to connect with the beauty of nature. These tame and consumable decorative objects allow us to enjoy and posses a piece of "the wild" but without risk to the idea of human exceptionalism or superiority...without the need to understand non-human animals on their own terms. In a culture which so often turns birds into objects, it is all to easy to slip into thinking of real birds as objects too—mere decoration for our human world. We forget they were here long before us, and that they posses their own rich interior worlds, languages and cultures.
Rejecting this exceptionalist stance, Kendler chooses to metaphorically return agency to these others. Ethically-foraged lichen now protects these birds from our gaze, restoring to them an element of mystery and "re-wilding" these domesticated objects—making them once again strange and wondrous.
In a private collection