Darwin’s Dreams, the Roots of Coincidence
Coincidence and fantasy intersect in this engaging exhibition featuring the work of Beauvais Lyons, Ruth Marten and Peiter Klúcik . The contemporary art on display was inspired by Darwin. It can be seen as a détournement; an exploration of ‘creative zoology’; a glimpse of a unique cosmology involving meticulous and fetishistic detail, fantasy and parody. Shown alongside the work of 16th century scientific illustrators Ambroise Pare and Conrad Gersner, the exhibition is inspired by the work of the great naturalist Charles Darwin. In the 19th century his extraordinary and detailed observations challenged traditional understandings of the world, and continue to evoke debate today.
The three contemporary artists featured in Darwin’s Dreams are all preoccupied in different ways by Nature and evolution, and there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.
Beauvais Lyons is interested in archaeological fiction; ‘in which artifacts from an imaginary culture are fabricated and documented as if authentic’. He characterises himself as a ‘trickster’ humourously testing our perceptions and challenging our assumptions.
Former New York tattoo artist and illustrator Ruth Marten uses the conventions of natural history and encyclopedic illustrations, creating a surreal and unstable space in which fantasy appears quasi-scientific.
Peiter Klúcik’s work in illustration and book design is well known. His images reveal a perverse and furry world of mutant and hybrid animals who failed the test of natural selection.