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29 September 2011

Curiouser and curiouser....

Whilst I was in Bath visiting the Artists Open Studios I also stumbled across this exhibition off the main high street in the city centre.

The exhibition, titled, 'Wunderkamer' from the German, 'Cabinet of curiosities' is an Off-site exhibition curated by the Bo Lee gallery at The Octagon Chapel, Milsom Place.
Featuring, Sarah Ball, Mat Collishaw, Angela Cockayne, Jayne Dunsmuir, Tessa Farmer, Patrick Haines, Marcelle Hanselaar, Melanie Jackson, Alexander Kozer-Robinson, Cornelia Parker, Robert Priseman, Dawn Lippiatt, Ione Rucquoi, Rose Sanderson, Rebecca Stevenson and Viktor Wynd.

I seem to be making a habit of seeing art exhibitions in abandoned buildings of which 'Wunderkamer' is another to add to that list. Whilst I do not have many photos here showing the impressive exhibition space you might get a rough idea from some of the images below that it is very grand looking and certainly a lot smarter than some of the other empty buildings I've seen exhibitions in recently. A quick search online reveals that the Octagon Chapel (named so because it is in fact octagonal inside) was designed as a church in 1767. Anyway, it has to be said that this a very cool show, and because of my own personal interests in all things cabinets/sheds and curiosities I found it to be particularly useful. Insects in bell jars, bones in boxes, x-rays, taxidermy, cases, sculptures made from unusual materials meant that the work in this show read like a natural history or science museum meets elements of the surreal and mystical. There was much to be curious about with most pieces requiring close inspection to see what was either in them, or what they were made of. In ways the show was also slightly macabre and Gothic which was probably helped to some degree by the period location it was hung in, I half expected to see the Patrick Haines' raven to spring to life and swoop down crying, 'Never more'. Luckily, this didn't happen and I continued to wonder around the exhibition exploring the different work on offer. The whole show was a really great surprise as I hadn't expected to find such a surreal and intriguing exhibition on the main shopping street.

The show is still on until the 1st of October, please check it out if you're out in Bath.

(above) -Tessa Farmer, artist

(above) -Ione Rucquoi, artist

"These collections of dead insects, objects from the bottom of a river and sea urchins are housed in cabinets, boxes, shelves and rooms that are recognisable as 'museum-like' and familiar, yet are encountered on the street or in the gallery." -Duncan Cameron, artist

For more info on this exhibition and future bo lee exhibitions/artists please see link below:

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