The reoccurring themes in Per Maning’s (b 1943) art are the relations between human and nature, with a focus on the biological and psychological similarities that forms a bond between humans and other species.
Maning mainly portray animals we keep in our homes, farms and zoos. In 1988, Maning patiently portrayed a group of seals in aquariums. They are toned black and white photographs which represented Norway in the Venice Biennale in 1995. As the seals swim by the aquarium glass, as elegantly abstract as they are eloquent, they do not seem as animals anthropomorphized zoo victims, but are represented as creatures with soul and psyche, whose existence reminds us of the animals in each of us. In his art, one can recognize this connection, and see how the identity of human beings are not only reliant on gender, race and nationality, which are the rules of structure in modern society. Maning’s view on the discourse of identity states that it is created upon us to accept ourselves as a species amongst other species. Only when we begin to do this, we will be in one with nature and be at ease with the course of life.