The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Baltic Centre Presents A Duck for Mr. Darwin: Evolutionary Thinking & the Struggle to Exist
Mark Dion, Department of Tropical Research, 2005. Mixed media. Dimension variable. Courtesy: in Situ fabienne leclerc, Paris. Photo: Marc Domage.

GATESHEAD.- A Duck for Mr. Darwin is a group exhibition of nine contemporary artists exploring evolutionary thinking and the theory of natural selection. Transforming Level 3 Gallery of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art from Friday 10 April, the show will feature sculpture, drawing, painting, film and installation. Focusing on the legacy of Charles Darwin’s ideas, this exhibition is informed by the spirit of experimentation which was so distinctive to the time in which he lived.

The mindset of the Victorian naturalist and his contemporaries, their sense of scientific experimentation and genuine wonder at their respective discoveries are shared by several of the artists in the exhibition. Ideas of isolated, closed worlds of meaning and ordered systems recur throughout, as does the location of the Galapagos Islands . Several of the artists’ visited the Islands and have made work as a result. These remarkable islands were pivotal to the story of the development of Darwin ’s theory and have continued to exert a fascination to many.

The art mixes fact and fiction, experimentation and observation, methods of display and personal research. Collectively these artists reveal facets of Darwin ’s extraordinary ideas. The exhibition presents work by nine international contemporary artists including a number of new commissions – a large working wormery by Tania Kovats, a museum tableau on the early Victorian explorers by Mark Dion and a new sound work by Andrew Dodds.

Mark Dion ( USA ) whose practice and methods look at history and its presentation will create an installation that concerns some of the lesser known Victorian naturalists and tropical collectors. These buccaneering characters, including H.W. Bates, Richard Spruce and Alfred Russel Wallace boldly ventured to remote locations like the Amazon in the 1850’s and were part of a colonial endeavour and early science. Since the 1980’s Dion has developed and constructed installations, re-creating laboratories and museum displays, looking at ways of ordering knowledge and the classification of systems.

Tania Kovats ( UK ) is an artist who has recently completed a commission to create the Darwin Canopy, an artwork entitled TREE set into the ceiling of the Natural History Museum, London , that celebrates the life and work of Charles Darwin. For BALTIC, Kovat’s continues her exploration of Darwin ’s work by creating Worm, a fully working wormery that will change over the course of the exhibition. Earthworms fascinated Darwin throughout his life and were the subject of his last publication. Kovats who has a long-standing interest in geology frequently makes work that responds to what she describes as “geological explicit landscapes”.

Marcus Coates ( UK ) whose practice has continually questioned the ways in which we relate to other species, presents two new works which were made whilst on a recent trip to the Galapagos Islands . Intelligent Design, a film which captures a mating ritual of giant tortoises on the island and Human Report for Channel 9, Galapagos TV where Coates dresses up as a native bird for local television to address the reality of evolution on the island today.

Charles Avery ( UK ) has created a new environment of drawings and sculpture. This forms part of his ongoing project, The Islanders where through drawing and sculpture Avery describes the topology, cosmology and inhabitants of an imaginary island. This island has been inspired in part by Avery’s childhood spent on the island of Mull , off the west coast of Scotland . For BALTIC, Avery presents a sculpture entitled One Armed Snake and a number of drawings including one of a bar and gambling emporium in Onomatopoeia – a town on Avery’s island.

Dorothy Cross (IRL) has been making significant works since the late 80’s across a variety of media. Cross’s work often has a strong sculptural presence. Her imagery is drawn from a unique vision and sometimes visceral relationship with nature. Stage, a film created by Cross in 2007 whilst on a visit to the Galapagos Island, was made to be shown in the Unitarian Church, Shrewsbury which Charles Darwin attended with his mother as a child. It is a conversation with a friend which combines questions on the possibility of art on the Galapagos Islands , personal reflections, scientific enquiry, and fragments of writing and poetry. Other works in the BALTIC exhibition include Sapiens, and Jellyfish Lake.

Andrew Dodds ( UK ) draws on his research visit to the Galapagos Islands in 2001 and his long standing interest in the wider social and cultural implications of Darwin ’s theories. Dodds is a sculptor with a cross media approach and who adopts a range of roles and strategies within his practice. For a new work at BALTIC Dodds looks at the contestations between evolutionary theory and creationism and its role within contemporary teachings, specifically in the North East region.

Mark Fairnington ( UK ) known for his meticulously detailed paintings of insects and animals has created Tally, a large painting of a four year old stud bull. The domestication of animals and our capacity to breed, cross fertilise and to make different forms and hybrids through the knowledge of genetics today perhaps compels us as much as it did in Darwin ’s day. Alongside this are a series of recent paintings of images of the eyes of wild animals, which were presented and prepared for museum display.

Ben Jeans Houghton (UK) a recent Fine Art graduate from Northumbria University , Newcastle will present On the Ark and I, a durational performance taking place throughout the length of the exhibition. Jeans Houghton creates art within self imposed structures. Exploiting his own attention to minutiae, he has created a scientific workshop, and complete environment that he perpetually reorders.

Conrad Shawcross ( UK ) is renowned for his ambitious works that engage such disciplines as physics, biology, geometry, philosophy and cosmology. Pre-Retroscope V comprises a hand-constructed wooden rowing boat and a series of objects collected by Shawcross as he navigated the River Lea in London last summer. The boat incorporates a circular track system, and camera, which make a 360 degree panoramic film of the horizon in a poetically futile attempt to capture a moment or experience in its entirety. A compelling fusion of performative artistic practice with scientific discovery and urban exploration, Pre-Retroscope V gently nods to the impossibility of a singular knowledge, or of a total understanding of our surroundings at any one time.

A Duck for Mr. Darwin has been curated by Alessandro Vincentelli (Acting Head of Programme) at BALTIC and devised to coincide with the Darwin 200 programme of celebrations and events.

The title references the story of an exchange between the young naturalists Alfred Russel Wallace who sent a particular specimen, a domestic duck from the island of Lombok to Darwin in 1857. Within a year a second parcel arrived from the Malay jungle containing Wallace’s short twenty page essay on species variation. This package proved to be the catalyst precipitating the publishing of Darwin ’s monumental theory - the book we now know as the Origin of Species.

Today's News

April 10, 2009

Focus on Andrea Mantegna: Mark the Evangelist, c. 1450 Opens at the Stadel Museum

Portrait-making, Rodin and his Models at Musée Rodin

Kunst Haus Wien Presents Picasso - Myths, Fables and Models

Van Gogh Museum Bids a Festive Welcome to the 200,000th Visitor

The Biennale de Lyon 2009 - The Spectacle of the Everyday

Anderson Ranch Arts Center Presents Interpreting the Political Landscape Exhibition

The Poetics of Space Opens at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The Palmer Gallery Features a Rotating Series of Exhibitions

Baltic Centre Presents A Duck for Mr. Darwin: Evolutionary Thinking & the Struggle to Exist

Three New Exhibitions Open at the Taubman Museum of Art

Tradition/Innovation: American Masterpieces of Southern Craft & Traditional Art Opens

Recent Acquisitions Opens at Saint Louis Art Museum

"Heroes of Horticulture" Photography Exhibition, Archival Photos of Reynolda To Open at Reynolda House

Performing Localities: Recent Guatemalan Performance Art on Video at Iniva at Rivington Place

Braque Painting Recovered 39 Years After Theft

Isa Genzken: Open, Sesame! at Whitechapel Gallery

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts Announces National Juried Exhibition of Metal Works

The Communism of Forms: Sound + Image + Time - The Strategy of Music Video

Reflections/Refractions: Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century Opens at The National Portrait Gallery

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful