Whitechapel Gallery

  • Note
  • Print
  • Share
  • Edit

Mark Dion

Theatre of the Natural World

14 Feb - 13 May 2018

Mark Dion
The Wonder Workshop
2015
Dark oak cabinets, epoxy resin, paint, 124 magic sculpt objects
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
The Wonder Workshop (detail)
2015
Dark oak cabinets, epoxy resin, paint, 124 magic sculpt objects
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
The Library for the Birds of London (detail)
2018
Mixed media; steel, wood, books, zebra finches, and found objects
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
The Library for the Birds of London (detail)
2018
Mixed media; steel, wood, books, zebra finches, and found objects
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
The Library for the Birds of London (detail)
2018
Mixed media; steel, wood, books, zebra finches, and found objects
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
Hunting Blind (The Librarian)
2008
Mixed media
522 x 180 x 180 cm
Installation view of Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018
Photo: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire
Mark Dion
Hunting Blind (The Glutton) (detail)
2008
Mixed media
300 x 170 x 230 cm
Installation view of Mark Dion: Concerning Hunting at Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria, 2008
Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna
Photo © Adolf Bereuter
Mark Dion
Hunting Blind (The Dandy-Rococo) (detail)
2008
Mixed media
280 x 230 x 350 cm
Installation view of Mark Dion: Concerning Hunting at Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria, 2008
Courtesy Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna
Photo © Adolf Bereuter
Mark Dion
Costume Bureau 2006 Mixed media
188 x 274.3 x 99.1 cm
Courtesy Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands
Photo: Chris Burke Studio
Mark Dion
Hunting Standard (Stag)
2005
Felt banner
138 x 94 cm
Courtesy In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc, Paris
MARK DION
Theatre of the Natural World
14 February – 13 May 2018

Explorer, collector, activist and conjuror of theatrical environments American artist Mark Dion (b.1961) has travelled through rainforests and rubbish dumps to reveal the wonder and fragility of life on earth. Dion uses specimens – natural and manmade – to make uncanny representations of these environments. His drawings, sculptures and installations draw on the techniques of scientific enquiry and museum display; and on the telling of natural histories.

We embark on a journey through a sequence of installations created between 2000 and the present. The exhibition begins with The Library for the Birds of London (2018), a new commission continuing a series of aviaries Dion has created since 1993. The roomy sanctuary is a temporary home to 22 zebra finches, which are well-known for being social creatures. Visitors are invited into the aviary, which has an apple tree at its centre, referencing the tree of life. Over 600 books devoted to ornithology, environmentalism, literature and the natural sciences surround the birds. A scholar’s study invites us to unravel intricate drawings and models; while the Bureau for the Centre of the Study for Surrealism and its Legacy displays the strange magic of obsolete things. The muddy banks of the Thames have also yielded their treasures for poetic display in a gigantic cabinet; while The Wonder Workshop displays the ghosts of animals and instruments, many of them extinct and obsolescent. Each immersive environment is also a habitat, evoking the characters that observe, conserve or exploit the natural world.

Curated by Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery with Candy Stobbs, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.
 

Tags: Iwona Blazwick, Mark Dion, Candy Stobbs