CURIOSITY: Art & the Pleasures of Knowing
Turner Contemporary, 25 May – 15 September 2013
Touring throughout the rest of 2013 and 2014
A Hayward Touring and Turner Contemporary exhibition curated by the writer Brian Dillon, in association with Cabinet magazine.
Devoted to wonder, awe and mystery in contemporary art and beyond, Curiosity will draw on the rich tradition of the Wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities, revealing surprising meetings between art and science, and exploring the ways that artists today mine themes of fascination, inquiry, obsession, monstrosity and invention. Its content will range from seventeenth-century collections of manmade and natural wonders to key works by contemporary artists, to the scientific mysteries of cosmic dust, Surrealist inventions and the further reaches of present scientific inquiry.
The exhibition will bring together artworks and artefacts from five centuries of rigorous inquiry and delightful strangeness. Drawing on the collections of major museums in the UK and abroad, it will include examples of cabinets of curiosities from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, paintings and drawings that depict the collector’s immersion among oddities and wonders, and specimens from medical and natural history. Later historical artefacts may include the glass models of aquatic animals made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the films of the scientist Lucien Bull and the atomic test photographs of Harold Edgerton. Among the contributions of Cabinet to the exhibition will be a display of images and artefacts – an exhibition within the exhibition – devoted to a single sub-theme of the editors’ choosing.