Having photographs sell for more than $100,000 at a world famous auction house is no small feat, and it’s one that will likely soon be accomplished by a photographer who gives new meaning to the term “chimping” every time he snaps a frame. The photographer is Mikki, a chimpanzee.
Mikki received his basic photography education from well-known Russian conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, who work as Komar and Melamid. The duo spotted the ape some time ago while at the Moscow Circus.
After training the primate with a Polaroid camera at first, the artists then decided to teach Mikki the ways of analog photography. When he graduated from a modern film camera, Mikki was taught to use an old school large format camera.
A batch of 18 photographs by Mikki and of Mikki will be auctioned on June 5, 2013 by Sotheby’s auction house in London. The collection is titled “Our Moscow Through the Eyes of Mikki.”
What’s crazy is the price the collection is expected to fetch: experts say the prints will fetch up to £70,000, or around $106,000!
The prints in the collection include images of the artists teaching Mikki how to use various cameras:
The other prints are photos captured by Mikki in 1998. Mikki’s photographs are mostly colorful out-of-focus snaps showing Moscow’s Red Square:
Sotheby’s contemporary art curator, Suad Garayeva, says the collection is “a very important piece of work”:
It’s a very important piece of work, and it is very exciting to be able to sell the pictures at auction. There’s been a lot of interest because it’s very unusual and it works on so many different levels. It’s an alternative view of Moscow as seen through alternative vision.
Artdaily.org writes that the work plays on “the notions of art and it’s value,” and that “the artists questioned the role of the human race and the relevance and exclusivity of artistic talent.”
We’ve reported on monkey’s trying their hand at photography before, but if Mikki’s photos are sold for their expected prices, he would likely become the world’s best-selling ape photographer.