Exhibition preview: Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing, Turner Contemporary, Margate, until September 15 2013
An insightful meditation on the nature of wonder, fascination and inquiry, this Hayward Touring exhibition from the Southbank Centre captures a world of artistic creativity and invention, abounding with human intrigue and our innate thirst for knowledge.
© David Grandorge
Works such as Nina Katchadourian’s kooky aeroplane toilet photos - where she dresses as people from various different eras in aeroplane toilets – produce humour within a show with a message of complexity.
Matt Mullican steps into the territory of attention and concentration, displaying a video of himself under hypnosis. He becomes increasingly interested in the objects surrounding him, including his shoes.
Brian Dillon, the exhibition’s curator of the exhibition, defines curiosity as “the desire to uncover what lies beyond our present understanding of the world.”
Perhaps nothing depicts this better than Gerard Byrne’s images of the Loch Ness Monster, which combine mythology and the curiosity of things beyond our understanding.
There is an underlying essence of childhood perception within this work, especially in the puppet-like images of Nessie the monster.
“It is about a desire to unveil what is actually none of our business,” observes Dillon.
“Like the cabinet of curiosities, which mixed science and art, ancient and modern, reality and fiction, this exhibition refuses to choose between knowledge and pleasure.”
Leonardo Da Vinci’s images of curious objects are among the more historic pieces on display.
And one of the most famous images of the uncanny, Dürer’s rhinoceros, was made by the artist in 1515 when, without ever having seen one, he drew this image based purely on hearsay and his knowledge of other animals.
As one of the most anatomically detailed images of the time, it proves how accurate an inventive, curious mind can be when enquiring beyond the realms of the tangibly present.
Curiosity is a compelling exploration of the ambiguous history and present meaning of wonder, attention and the urge to know.
- Open 10am-6pm (closed Monday except Bank Holidays). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @TCMargate.
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
© MNHN - Patrick Lafaite
© Courtesy Jeremy Millar
© DACS 2013
© National Museum of Wales
© Heini Schneebeli