A girl with green hair stares out at passers by on the crossroads junction between Old Street and Goswell Road. In her arms she holds a chicken and on her head she wears what looks to be an upturned goldfish bowl. A mouse sits on her shoulder appearing to whisper something in her ear whilst a fish swims through the air.
This is the latest mural from Italian artist Vera Bugatti and it’s striking. The spot dominates the road junction and marks the entrance to Clerkenwell. It’s impossible to miss and is one of the finest pieces to see in London at the moment.
The story of the mural can be found on Vera’s website, there in a post there called ‘My huge crazy wall in London‘ where she explains the meaning of the piece she calls ‘Teratology’. It’s a word stemming from the Greek teras meaning ‘monster’ or ‘marvel’ and logos meaning the ‘study of the word’. Taken together teratology means the abnormalities of physiological development. Now, looking closer at the artwork it can be seen that the chicken actually has the body of a goat and the mouse has the head of a fish.
Explaining the piece on her website, she explains further “the girl holds an angry cock with a body that reminds of a goat or a lamb. One hand is embracing it, the other seems to keep it in a hard way. The position is similar to many ones in the religious iconography. On the shoulder of the girl another strange animal is holding a piece of meal. It has the astonished face of a curious fish and half body of a rat. On the top, close to the dirty bowl kept on the head of the girl, a worried pink monster fish.”
But who is the girl in the mural? According to Bugatti she still doesn’t know “if she is a human child spirit or a nature one, if she is saving these extraordinary creatures or if she is catching or hunting them?” Bugatti’s work, now overseeing the road to Clerkenwell, is a surrealist take on what she describes as “the bad behaviour of humans when interacting with nature.”
With this further insight, the mural takes on a new meaning, it becomes almost frankensteinesque. What has the young girl done to these creatures? Is the look she gives one of sorrow or defiance? I still haven’t figured out the upside down goldfish bowl! Either way, it’s a great piece so get down to see it if you can.
The photos in this post were taken on 28 January 2017 and more work from Vera Bugatti can be found on her website.
Vera Bugatti Gallery