animal instinct / instinct animal


Why do turtles rush to the sea as soon as they leave their nests, and spiders spontaneously weave webs? Mysterious, imperceptible and fascinating, the animal instinct – the innate knowledge that leads living beings to perform actions automatically and unconsciously from birth – has interested many scientists since Aristotle. This “animal” behavior, which is also very much human, has also stirred the curiosity of artists for centuries.

The Museum of Fine Arts Le Locle is delighted to present the collective exhibition animal instinct / instinct animal, which offers an atypical journey into the animal condition and explores the relationship between animals and human beings. In an unprecedented dialogue, masterpieces from the museum’s animal collection – including etchings by Goya and Chagall – mingle with projects by invited contemporary artists.

What does a dog running through an abandoned factory perceive? How do bees react to pesticides? What kind of stress do animals used by the army feel? Animal artists, philosophers, victims and resisters, the projects presented question the blurred boundary between the innate and the acquired, wilderness and domesticity, natureand culture, submission and freedom, science and fiction.

Inspired by Hicham-Stéphane Afeissa’s Manifeste pour une écologie de la différence (Manifesto for an Ecology of Difference), this eclectic bestiary invites us to question our relationship with the animal world, both in terms of our identity and the contemporary challenges of biodiversity. 

In addition, in the Marie-Anne Calame room, children will be invited to express themselves and reflect on three top predators: the lynx, the wolf and the bear, in collaboration with the Swiss magazine La Salamandre.


Collection MBAL

Collection Muzoo



Marta Bogdańska

Patrick Goddard

Erik Kessels

Roman Selim Khereddine

Keiko Machida

Pamela Rosenkranz

La Salamandre

Emilio Vavarella