Kat Schneider - 'Sow's Honor'
April 19, 2019 - May 19, 2019

In 1386, the tribunal of Falaise sentenced a sow to be mangled and maimed in the head and
forelegs and then to be hanged, for having torn the face and the arms of a child thus causing
its death. As if to make the travesty of justice complete, the sow was dressed in man’s clothes
and executed on the public square near the city-hall at an expense of ten sous and ten de-
niers, besides a pair of gloves to the hangman. The executioner was provided with new gloves
in order that he might come from the discharge of his duty, metaphorically at least, with
clean hands, thus indicating that, as a minister of justice, he incurred no guilt in shedding
blood.1


- E.P. Evans, Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals (1906)

The sow’s ordeal was memorialized in the form of a large fresco on the southwest wall of the Sainte-
TriniteĢ de Falaise Church. However, a nineteenth-century renovation of the church resulted in the wall
being whitewashed, and the fresco along with it. In the absence of copies, both the visual representation
of the execution and the event itself were erased from public memory.

In the dynamics of trial and ordeal, the offender’s body must be transformed into an image in order to
be seen, and therefore, punished.2 This body must be rendered as sensuous — wherein the pain is
palpable — yet also ungestalt — formless, in a way which incites horror and obscures recognition.

Punishment is our preferred purification strategy. Subsisting largely on female flesh3, we hoard means
to reclaim control. Animal trials are financed by human desires. The verdict is the body inverted;
nature hangs in the balance. Justice is served and you’re on the menu.

Evans, Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. 140-141

Terry-Fritch, Allie. “Animal Trials, Humiliation Rituals, and the Sensuous Suffering of Criminal Offenders in Late Medieval
and Early Modern Europe.” Visualizing Sensuous Suffering and Affective Pain in Early Modern Europe and the Spanish Americas, Ed.,
Heather Graham and Lauren G. Kilroy-Ewbank. Boston: Brill, 2018. 53-84.

Adams, Carol J. The Sexual Politics of Meat - 25th Anniversary Edition. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. 256.


Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Lex Talionis, 2019, glazed ceramics, rope, scale and steel chain, 81 x 28 x 9 inches

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Lex Talionis, 2019 [detail]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Sainte-Trinité III: Wasted, 2019, steel, soil, plaster putty, acrylic and digital print on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Humiliation Ritual, 2019, plaster, wood composite, polymer clay, chalk paint and mud residue, 10 x 20 inches

Humiliation Ritual, 2019 [detail]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]

Sainte-Trinité I: Tortured, 2019, steel, soil, plaster putty, acrylic and digital print on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Sainte-Trinité II: Consumed, 2019, steel, soil, plaster putty, acrylic and digital print on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Sow’s Honor Library, 2019, found faux-wooden shelf and chain, 5 x 48 x 6 ½ inches

Sow's Honor, artist-bound book, 29 pages [excerpt]

Kat Schneider, Sow's Honor [installation view]