Curio: Sites of Wonder
30 Sept – 2 Dec, 2016
Monday – Friday 11:00 – 17:00
Private View: September 29th, 17:30 – 20:00
Admission Always Free
The white-cube space of Studio 3 Gallery has been transformed into a dark and strange chamber that brings together newly commissioned artworks and historical objects in a modern Cabinet of Curiosities. Exploring themes of mortality, time, memory, and metamorphosis, artwork and non-art piece works in balance to create an aesthetic located somewhere between a dusty old museum and a contemporary gallery.
Introducing visitors to the space is Musei Wormiani Historia, a seventeenth century engraving showing the famous cabinet of curiosities of Ole Worm, a Danish physician and antiquarian. As they step into the dark green gallery space, visitors are greeted by Victorian taxidermy birds, volcanic dust, and insect specimens on loan from the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, alongside works by artists including Paul Hazleton’s illuminated cabinet of intricate works made from dust, bones, and found objects, Sarah Craske’s biological cabinet of dormant bacteria harvested from the pages of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and three illuminated sculptures encased in resin by Kirsten Baskett. Tessa Farmer’s work is an exquisitely complex depiction of a fantastical battle between insects and fairies constructed entirely from biological specimens. Mair Hughes’ bold lens and landscape drawings with accompanying sculptures interrogate biological and physical science and our own epistemological limits. Bridget Kennedy’s sculpture investigates memory and the development and decay of the now-decommissioned Wylfa Nuclear Power Station in Anglesey, North Wales. The sculptures engineered by Polly Morgan feature taxidermy chicks in a precarious and hazardous scene, showing the fragility of physical life and the balance of existence in visually shocking pieces.
This unsettling juxtaposition of objects may provoke more questions for the viewers than answers. As Dr Grant Pooke writes:
What might the imaginative and lateral bricolage of Curio suggest to us? Can such share cadences with the living? What insights might a casual observer take from these petrified and preserved objets trouvé re-imagined and re-installed beyond their span? What might the imaginative juxtaposition of such suggest in terms of place, memory and time? Perhaps just this simple and prosaic axiom: the past is lost to us whilst the future is yet to be realised. The present moment and those who share such with us, is all we will ever truly have. Time flies.
A programme of talks and concerts will accompany this exhibition. Check back for more information.
Featured Artists: Kirsten Baskett, Sarah Craske, Tessa Farmer, Paul Hazelton, Mair Hughes, Bridget Kennedy and Polly Morgan.
Image: Mair Hughes, Intra-land, 2016. Courtesy of the Artist