Body Bag for Rats (Ammonia), 2013
Solvent ink on Tyvek, nylon thread, zipper, fill: virgin pellets
9 x 10 x 2 in / 23 x 25.4 x 5 cm
A meditation on the long life of petrochemicals, Zurkow’s body bags for various animals are crafted by hand with Tyvek. Working the flexible paper-like surface into flesh, each is filled with a colorful assortment of virgin and post-manufacture debris, such as regrind and floor-sweep. As death masks, the folk-art quality of these somber pieces associates them with the rituals of remembering the beloved and the storytelling traditions of representational embroidery. In her tender treatment of each subject, Zurkow evokes funeral urns and the tombs of Egypt’s royalty, as the decorative patterning on each vessel recalls a technologically manufactured and human vocabulary of excess.