Currently reading : Der Rattenkönig
Bernard Réquichot (1929-1961) polymorphous artist, writer, visual artist, maintained a captivation for collage. More particularly for the accumulation of collage, using aggregate as the driving force of his work. He confessed to be inspired for his reliquaires by a sorely explainable -and explained- natural phenomenon, the Rattenkönig (literally the king of rats) which sees several rats amalgamate because of their tied tails and becoming one irreversibly. Their added up masses doesn’t allow them to move, thereby they must be fed by their fellow beings. The biggest king of rats was found in 1828 in Germany and is conserved at the Mauritianum Museum of Altenburg (Germany)…it is made up of 32 bodies.
The king of rats name derives from an old German legend narrating the story of a juvenile crownless king, Nerub der Jugendliche (Nerub the young) who, unable to federate his army in ordrer to defend his besieged kingdom, fused with the rats. By doing so, he won the war and his subjects respect.
Questioning the disgust til it sparks off, Réquichot used to come back from his strolls with his pockets full of clay, stones and bones he piled up next in his sculptures. He commited suicide in 1961, two days before an exhibition.
images courtesy of www.bernard-requichot.org