Divlje životinje u urbanom okolišu. Ljudi su negdje u pozadini, ali kao da ih i nema. Možda su izumrli, ili su "još" živi ali su potpuno irelevantni. I što sad? Životinje preuzimaju ljudske uloge: nasilje i otuđenost među podivljalim životinjama u predgrađima; mržnja, bijes i krvna osveta između bijesnih pasa i psihotičnih orlova; histerične ribe napadaju depresivne komarce. Korupcija "prirodnog", "čistog" masakra. A biljke? Da, prelijepe su, ali počinju gledati u zvijezde.
"Leonard Koscianski has produced a series of striking paintings depicting animals, mainly dogs, in suburban settings. These pictures evoke – and I don’t mean this pejoratively – those fascinatingly mediocre animal paintings that are constructed around a certain aesthetic of ‘the wild animal’. I say ‘fascinatingly mediocre’, because the excesses of these paintings’ commercial realist style tend to de-realise or ‘de-nature’ the wildness of their ostensible subjects, rendering these animals strangely unnatural. This strangeness, of course, is already embodied in domestic pets. Koscianski’s feral dogs evince this unsettling strangeness, on neatly trimmed lawns bathed in the electric light spilling from living-room windows, or in menacing close-up among the crystalline tangles of garden hedges, with the light of a bedroom window drawing the viewer’s eye towards the background. But there is more at work here than the rather conventional, almost clichéd idea that a sort of savagery subsists beneath the calm domestic facade: Koscianski’s suburban backgrounds feature something that is far wilder, and more strange, than the savagery of his animal subjects. His dogs have escaped their domestic settings, certainly, but this flight carries the suburban background along with it, so that the figures who appear so enigmatically there seem to bear witness to a different kind of movement than the one traversing the rural/urban divide.
These suburban settings bring to mind the work of symbolists William Degouve de Nuncques and Paul Delvaux, as well as de Chirico, whose cityscapes suggest a deterritorialisation of urban space. Just as Van Gogh’s peasant shoes, for example, may be said to provide a sensorial compensation for the misery of agrarian life in the face of increasing industrialisation, these scenes discover an urban sentiendum which draws the city towards a space that is neither urban nor rural. The sentiendum denotes that which is empirically imperceptible but which can only be sensed as the limit of empirical sensibility, it is the becoming-sensible of the insensible as the being of the sensible as such. The sentiendum of urban space is found at the edge of the nocturnal city, in the city’s interstices, in the lonely and disused corners of parks, railway stations and hinterlands. But what of suburbia? Is there not a sentiendum of suburban space? In 1902, the English urban planner Ebenezer Howard, inspired by the fiction of Edward Bellamy, published Garden Cities of Tomorrow in which he envisaged a solution to the problems of the overpopulated industrial city that was effectively a utopian resolution of the conflict of the rural/urban divide. Of course, suburbia as we know it today is in many cases a dystopia, an inversion of Howard’s vision. But I would argue that the worst suburbias sustain their utopianism in that they remain premised on the overcoming of the country/city divide (I would refer to Jameson’s argument here that utopia and dystopia both attest to the same impulse, which is to search out the limits of the ideology of modernity).
This is how the ‘critical postmodernism’ of Koscianski’s paintings should be understood. The confrontations of human and animal, the domestic and the wild, which they dramatise are played out against a background in which the urban/rural divide – which, we might say, is the built environment’s version of the culture/nature dichotomy – is already transcended through the utopian/dystopian logic of the suburb. Suburbs mark the reterritorialisation of the deterritorialisation which large industrial cities push to an unsustainable limit. But we should bear in mind Deleuze and Guattari’s third theorem of deterritorialisation: it is always on the most deterritorialized element that reterritorialisation takes place. The suburb bears within it, as a ‘ground’, a space that has escaped the rigid distributions of the city. The suburb is a redistribution of this space according to a logic that is no longer defined by the rural/urban divide and on a ground that is ungrounded viz. this division. In this sense, would not suburbia be a kind of deterritorialised or denaturalised nature, whose sentiendum would correspond to a kind of non-organic experience, a form of experience that has escaped its empirical grounding in the natural/organic functions of animal habit?" - Violent Signs