The question for quite some time was “What on earth are the Horniman going to do to fill that space?”
Usually when an object goes off on tour, it is discretely removed from display and sometimes a small photograph of it will be put in its place saying where it is and when it’ll be back.
Clearly this wouldn’t work for The Walrus. Luckily, the Horniman documented every step of the move, which answers the question of how it was moved but we’re still weren’t sure what was going to keep the walrus’ seat warm.
The answer came on the 3rd June as the announcement was made that a giraffe was going to be filling in, guest-starring in the space until September.
Although seeing the Horniman Giraffe – as the work by Laura Ford will henceforth be known- has been on The List for quite some time, it wasn’t until recently that I got the chance to.
The Horniman Giraffe was originally created for an exhibition called A Stranger Here Myself in the Camden Arts Centre. It was designed with the 15ft ceiling of the Camden Arts Centre in mind, and was supposed to look as uncomfortable and as out-of-place as possible in the space.
Although it looses the uncomfortable-ness it had in the original setting due to the extra ceiling space, there is something inherently awkward about the ungainly gait of a giraffe. The sense of being out-of-place is kept, but only because we expect to see our friend the Walrus there instead.
The Horniman made a brave choice in lending their star piece during the summer months, but when you stop to think about it, the Horniman Giraffe is a fantastic choice as a seat-warmer; as a piece of art it is about being out of place and putting it in the place of a famous piece adds to this as well as reminding us of what is absent. Anticipating the out pouring of emotion at the loss of the Walrus over the summer, the museum has erected a message board which has been filled with lovely messages to our over-stuffed chum.
You can see badges from the Horniman Museum over at the Museum of Museum Badges.