Since Spring 2017, Tom Van Herrewege has been working on a large series of works entitled Hit List. Sourcing different sets of old cigarette cards and old encyclopedia pages, with some being over one hundred years old, he has been editing these by burning away the animals image according to the individual species’ conservation status on the IUCN red list of threatened species. The closer the individual animal depicted on the card is to extinction, the more of its image is burned away. The image is burned away because of the association to man and man kinds impact, being the only animal that can produce fire, but it is also a literal reminder that one day we may not be able to see these animals anymore.
The vast amount of the better known animals that are repeatedly depicted in these sets that are now very much threatened in the wild is really quite disturbing. Most of these cigarette cards only really depict the larger, often better known animals. If they were to depict more small animals such as amphibians, marine life and a huge variety of other species that go unconsidered, then the amount of burned away animal imagery in these cards would be far greater.
Hit List is at SudionAme from the 24th March to the 6th April.