Collaborative artists, best known for their anthropomorphic creations, ‘Dogman’ and ‘Rabbitwoman’. Neither had any formal training in painting or sculpture, although Australian-born Marc Schattner studied graphic design at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. The couple met in Hong Kong in 1990 and married the same year. They moved to Sydney in 1999 and by 2006 had decided to work collaboratively, henceforth signing their works ‘Gillie and Marc’. Their first collaborative work, a painting, He’ll never be famous but he doesn’t give a damn, he’s a musician, featuring the first of their man-dog hybrids, won first prize in the 2009 Chianciano Biennale in Tuscany; Bondi Coffee Dog, a sculpture in fibreglass was included in the same year’s Florence Biennale. Dedicated conservationists, in 2016, the Schattners submitted a sculpture, Buried Rhino, to the ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ exhibition on Bondi Beach; intended to raise awareness of the species’ impending extinction, it won them the Allen’s People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice awards. This was followed in 2018 with the installation in Astor Place, New York, of what the couple trumpeted as the ‘world’s largest rhino sculpture’, The Last Three. Featuring life-size sculptures of three Northern White Rhinoceroses balanced acrobatically one on top of the other, it was, like Buried Rhino, a popular success. Inevitably, the art world viewed such productions differently, New York magazine’s senior art critic Jerry Saltz, for example, writing off The Last Three as ‘a kitschy monstrosity’. Sculptures by the Schattners in the UK include Rabbitwoman and Dogman Drinking Coffee, 2017, Bishop’s Square, and Tandem Lovers, 2020, Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf, both Tower Hamlets; and The Friendship Bench, 2020, Halkin Arcade, Westminster.
Sources: ‘Gillie and Marc Schattner’, Art Nomad; Gillie and Marc (sculptors’ website); Small, Z., ‘How Paparazzi Dogs and Rabbitgirl Conquered New York City Streets’, New York Times, 3 January 2019; ‘Gillie and Marc’, Wikipedia.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022
Gillie and Marc Schattner with their dog, Idie, 2017 (photo: Gillieandmarcart, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)