Equine Exhibit Honors Peck Collection, WEG

by Holly Brown

Horses on the track are a given during the World Equestrian Games, but many representations of the animal will also be on display in the Morlan Gallery until Oct. 15.

Vistors can enter Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova's mustache cup. Inside, one can view the funeral procession of Alexander I.

The exhibit, called “The Illustrious Horse: Kentucky Artists Respond to the Clara Peck Collection,” opened on Sept. 15. The display features the work of several Kentucky artists, including Transylvania faculty such as visiting Kenan artist Zoé Strecker, visiting Kenan writer Dr. Richard Taylor, assistant professor of English Dr. Kremena Todorova and art professor Kurt Gohde.

For the exhibit, twelve artists and one poet were asked to create a response to the equine images taken from the Peck Collection, which is part of Transylvania’s Special Collections Library.

The two-dimensional images that the artists selected for inspiration included photographs, books, plates, illuminated manuscripts, paintings and etchings. The products of these responses ranged from paintings and sculptures to multimedia representations and Taylor’s haiku.

Gohde and Todorova were available to comment on their collaborative sculpture that is currently in the exhibit, titled “Royal Dandies.” As inspiration for their sculpture they chose the “Procession Funebre de feu S.M. l’Empereur Alexandre I,” a book which depicts every horse and carriage in the funeral procession for Emperor Alexander I in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Historians believe that the emperor faked his death and reappeared as Feodor Kuzmich, a quiet monk with a full beard, whose only decorative possession was a mustache cup. This creates an interesting tie to Transy, as we have the world’s largest collection of mustache cups.

“For Feodor Kuzmich, for Alexander I and for Transylvania, we built the world’s largest mustache cup: a cup that invites visitors to rest inside, sharing stories of wonder,” Gohde and Todorova said of their contribution.

The exhibition is open to the public and can be found inside the Morlan Gallery in Mitchell Fine Arts, which will have extended hours during the World Equestrian Games. Starting on Sunday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Oct. 9, the gallery will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.


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