Man lives in a bear for 13 days

Performance artist’s latest challenge inspired by previous project in French Alps

2 April 2014

IF YOU go down to the Musée de la Chasse et la Nature in Paris today, you’re sure of a big surprise.

For you may see French performance artist Abraham Poincheval, 43, having his teddy bears’ picnic of seeds, berries and mushrooms while he lives - until April 13 - inside a stuffed bear.

He climbed into the belly of the beast on Tuesday.

In a statement, the artist said he wanted to “become one with such an animal” following a previous project in the French Alps, when he pushed a capsule from Digne-les-Bains to Italy. He stayed in the capsule at night, and was visited by many creatures living in the mountains.

He said his return to civilisation after his experiences in the mountains was a shock.

“For him this act signifies a rebirth, a rite of passage, to pass from the world of the dead to that of the living,” the statement said.

Although conditions are cramped, the stuffed bear is equipped with everything Mr Poincheval needs to survive during his challenge.

Dried food, similar to the diet of bears, is stored in vacuum packs in one of its legs. He has access to water and a kettle to heat up his food. He can even go to the toilet without leaving the bear’s body.

He has installed elasticated cords so he can do up to two hours of exercise a day, and he has books to keep him entertained.

He also hopes that visitors to the museum will chat - or even read - to him. A chair and books have been placed next to the bear for this purpose.

Anyone interested in seeing what he is up to at any time of day, whether the museum is open or not, can watch him on webcam.

Mr Poincheval is no stranger to unusual stunts. In 2002 he walked across France in a straight line, and two years ago he lived for a week in a hole underneath a bookstore in Marseille.

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