When confronted with Thomas Grünfeld's uncanny 'Misfits', the viewer is struck by mixed feelings ranging from amusement and tenderness to horror or even disgust. 'Misfit (Cow)' is one of a number of taxidermied hybrid animals that have come to populate Grünfeld's obsessional and surreal zoo. Through the haunting presence of his work, the young German artist questions the dubious relationship that exists today between science and nature.
Halfway between an ostrich and a bull, 'Misfit (Cow)' seems to be drawn from a dream world and thrust into the world of contemporary reality. Behind its funny, fantasy appearance, the work is reminiscent of art historical icons - from the representations of mythological hybrid monsters and fantastic Gothic animals to the Surrealist's 'cadavre esquis' drawings, which used chance assemblage to create surreal figures.
Paradoxically, the naturalist aspect of Grünfeld's 'Misfit (Cow)' could make it one of the uncategorised prehistoric creatures exhibited in a museum of natural history. When confronted with reality, however, the hybrid puzzles the scientific viewer by its sheer lack of reason. Although one of the most absurd birds on the planet, large and awkward and completely unable to fly, the ostrich has a certain elegance as a result of its long neck and legs, in addition to its amazing speed. In his hybrid combination, Grünfeld has ruined this delicate balance by replacing the neck and head of the bird with that of a bull. The ridiculous and archaic aspect of the bird is thus emphasised even more by the uneasy physiognomy that would not allow it to service in reality.
Incompatible with the laws of nature and, at the same time, quite possible as a result of recent scientific developments in the field of genetic research, Grünfeld's 'Misfit (Cow)' is both a fantastic icon and a sombre warning of the consequences of the New Age.