PROVENANCE is a dual site exhibition with work from both established and emerging artists: Julie Anderson, Mat Collishaw, Angela Cockayne, Tessa Farmer, Laura Ford, Jochem Hendricks, Melanie Jackson, Mariele Neudecker, Martin Thomas, Gavin Turk, Jack Williams, Viktor Wynd, House of Fairy Tales Exquisite Trove.
Symposium Date: Tuesday 5th October Exhibitions runs from: 5th to 27th October 2010. (Programme & Registration Form below. Please book early as limited spaces available)
The theme of this International exhibition, symposium and publication was initially based on a response to a rediscovered natural history collection, which originated as specimens for drawing classes used for teacher training at Bath Academy of Art in the fifties. The collection has recently been relocated back to its original 'home' at Corsham Court, Wiltshire.
The Wunderkammer or wonder–chamber is a non-hierarchal collection of curiosities, natural specimens, miraculous objects, obscure, whimsical, and the wonderful, which defy categorical boundaries. The exhibition and symposium explores a relationship with the history and ethics of collecting natural specimens, and the implications of a sense of collective conscience. It addresses questions posed by a collision of the past, present and future of such collections. Provenance also examines the act of ‘reading’ a collection in the absence of the original collector, and the extent to which one’s interest in a collection re examines any curatorial or objective agendas.
In the 21st century the camera has replaced the gun in archiving nature through photography and film, consequentially natural history has never been more popular or readily accessible. What is strangely interesting is the resurgence in collecting specimens through taxidermy in an age of animal rights, where it could be seen to be unethical to do so.
Although all the specimens made with animal parts used in this exhibition have been found or donated from natural and unpreventable deaths, there are still implications in finding fascination in these collections, knowing that many such specimens were killed for preservation and curation. As a collection the cultural patrimony of such objects is very ambiguous, they cannot be returned to their countries of origin, so they remain as objects for our education, curiosity and wonderment. They are also a place for solace, retreat and contemplation of what it is to be part of this system.
Academics, Writers and Artists
Philip Hoare, critic and broadcaster, and has taught creative writing in schools, colleges and prisons. His work has been praised by W. G. Sebald, who wrote, ‘Philip Hoare’s writing is quite untrammeled by convention and opens up astonishing views at every turn’. Winner of the Samuel Johnson prize 2009.
James Putnam, author and curator James Putnam’s work explores museological strategies such as archiving, display and taxonomy. He is author of Art and the Artifact and has curated several major exhibitions including Mythologies at the Museum of Mankind in 2009, Wonderland in Milan 2010.
Jochem Hendricks born in Germany is known for his work addressing moral and ethical issues using taxidermy and methods of preserving natural specimens as a key element in his work. He has shown internationally and is represented by Haunch of Venison.
Melanie Jackson lectures at the Slade School of Fine Art. Much of her practice has been concerned with the flow of international capital. She is currently investigating the relationships between economics, nature and technology through a series of experiments with fauna and flora, most recently with her solo exhibition The Urpflanze (Part 1) at the Drawing Room, London. She is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.
Gavin Turk works in London. He is internationally recognised for his provocative sculptural installations, which deal with the cult of personality and the construction of artistic myth. In the 1990s he came to prominence as one of Britain's infamous "Young British Artists" and was included in the influential Sensation exhibition in 1997.
Tessa Farmer is an artist based in London. Her work, made from insect carcasses, plant roots and other found natural materials, comprises hanging installations depicting battles between insects and tiny winged skeletal humans.
Mariele Neudecker was born in Germany. She is Internationally recognized for her atmospheric reproductions of landscapes within glass vitrines. She uses a broad range of media including sculpture, film and installation. She is interested in cultural constructs around representations of landscape within the Northern European Romantic tradition and the notion of the ‘Contemporary Sublime’.
Angela Cockayne lectures at Bath Spa University. Her most recent project, Dominion, 2009, incorporates chimerical objects part animal, part sculpture, with Philip Hoare’s text based on sperm whales. She melds wax sculpture with found natural objects to create startling new juxtapositions, which question states of the human predicament, sexual politics and global consciousness.
Mat Collishaw London based artist first came to public attention in Sensation in 1997 where the term YBA was first defined, he has shown internationally and is represented by Haunch of Venison. Gabrielle Forshaw graduated from Bath Spa University in 2010; her work investigates traces of activity and authorship.
Martin Thomas is a lecturer at Bath Spa University. His work considers ways in which we construe the natural world. Viktor Wynd is an artist, collector and curator who exhibits internationally, held the Rosenquist Fellowship in Fine Art at The University of South Florida and is Regent of The Last Tuesday Society. Laura Ford, artist, represented her native Wales in the Venice Biennale in the summer of 2005. Some of her best-known sculptures are primarily constructed in fabric, with unidentifiable chimerical characters consisting of humans and animals.
Julie Anderson graduated from Bath Spa University in 2009. Using taxidermy, Julie’s work investigates patrimony and reparation.
Jack Williams graduated from of Bath Spa University in 2009; his work investigates taxonomy as a recurring theme.
House of Fairy Tales is an artist’s collective established by artists Deborah Curtis and Gavin Turk. Work for this exhibition has been inspired by Cabinets of Curiosities or Wunderkammer, the encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Curated by Alice Herrick.
Molly Young graduated from Bath Spa University in 2010; her work investigates the archive in contemporary practice.
‘Provenance returns to a sense of innocence, for all its dark undertones. Like all wunderkammer, it has the air of Prospero’s hand, an enchanted island to be populated by creatures from a brave new world. This exhibition explores the notion of provenance in its broadest terms; it seeks not to judge, and asks, rather than answers questions. Out of its prodigious imaginations, nameless new worlds might yet emerge, unclassified like diatoms and galaxies, spinning into another universe. ‘ Philip Hoare