I have seen some strange things on my travels, but Froggyland in the Croatian city of Split has got to be the strangest and certainly the most bizarre to date. Hungarian taxidermist Ferenc Mere spent ten years of his life from 1910 to 1920 stuffing and preserving over five hundred common garden frogs before arranging them to re-enact various human activities. The Gunther von Hagens of the amphibian world stuffed these frogs (that presumably and hopefully were dead beforehand) in such a way that all their internal organs and body parts, apart from their eyes (replaced with glass ones), remained intact.
I giggled and laughed my way around the small exhibition in a disused cinema just off Marmontova, but I have to admit I left it in a state of bewilderment, fear and confusion. I had to go for a stiff (no pun intended) drink afterwards to calm my nerves, and I think the sight of some of those frogs will haunt me for the rest of my life.
I apologise in advance for the woefully bad froggy puns that follow.
The attention to detail is amazing, but why Mere was compelled to do this remains a mystery. The exhibition had only a week left to run when I visited it in September 2014, and at the time there were no plans to exhibit it anywhere else. But, I’m sure it will pop up again somewhere else in the foreseeable future, and if Paul McCartney ever feels the need to re-release “We All Stand Together” with an up-to-date music video, he could certainly make good use of the models from Froggyland.
For more information on the collection and where it might be exhibited next, go to the official Froggyland website here.
Trying not to dismiss the Icelandic Phallological (penis) Museum as a load of old balls