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Surreal Science: Loudon Collection with Salvatore Arancio at Whitechapel Gallery

Saturday 25 August, 2018 @ 8:00 am - Sunday 6 January, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

Surreal Science exhibition of scientific objects

This vibrant exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery features a carefully chosen selection of objects crafted from unexpected materials, collected by Dutch art collector George Loudon.

These include lost-wax casts, minerals, velvet, ivory and glass as well as prints, books, drawings and anatomical specimens like taxidermied animals to bisected human skulls. Velvet toadstools, glass slugs, a pair of miniature turtles deep in conversation in their tank of formaldehyde all look like a work of contemporary art. However, they were all made in 19th century.

Dutch art collector George Loudon began collecting scientific objects after encountering a rendered glass jellyfish by father-and-son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the Natural History Museum at Harvard University in 1998. These 19th century teaching models and illustrations were created for handling and contemplation in the pursuit of knowledge of the natural world.

In the exhibition, Italian artist Salvatore Arancio selects from and responds to the collection in an exhibition that stages the objects in dialogue with the artist’s own works. Arancio is known for his prints and ceramics that create biomorphic forms and he shares a deep interest for science.

He showcases a surreal scenography filled with sound, light and his own ceramic sculptures. They are juxtaposed with scientific objects to create startling hybrids and poetic narratives including a 19th century essay on the shape and colour of human souls.  The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by George Loudon, Object Lessons and a nature documentary.

Visitors can expect to see sculptures, various scientific objects from the 19th century onward, illuminating installations as well as human and animal parts.

For more information, visit the official site of Whitechapel Gallery.


Saturday 25 August, 2018 @ 8:00 am
Sunday 6 January, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
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Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High St
London, E1 7QX United Kingdom