Russian Ape’s Photos Fetch $77,000 at London Auction

MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) – Photographs of Moscow’s Red Square taken by a Russian chimp called Mikki in the 1990s have sold for £50,000 ($77,000) at a Sotheby’s auction in London.

A collection of 18 images titled “Our Moscow Through the Eyes of Mikki” was part of the Collaboration with Animals project, launched by Russian conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid in 1978.

The artists taught Mikki, a popular performer at the Moscow Circus, to take photos as part of a project aimed at questioning man’s superiority in art by involving animals.

“The blurry snapshots of Red Square taken by Mikki present a new perspective akin to experimental photography and reference millions of photos taken by tourists on a daily basis,” the auction house said.

The buyer, Russian art collector Kira Flanzaich, told AP: “Sometimes you think that animals can maybe photograph or do other things better than a human being.”

The photographs sold also included images of Mikki taken by Komar and Melamid. The Sotheby’s sale, Changing Focus: A Collection of Russian Eastern European Contemporary Photography, includes over 800 photographs by Soviet artists.

The Collaboration with Animals project started with drawings done by a dog, and then continued with a series of paintings by an elephant in an Ohio zoo which later resulted in the founding of Art Academies for Elephants in Thailand.

Mikki was not at the auction to see his work sold as he died in 2007.


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