For over twenty years, animal specimens, bizarre display cases, and scientific work tables have all been part of the visual repitoire of the American artist Mark Dion. His entire oeuvre has been shaped by a fascination with “nature”, and it’s capacity to turn human beings into collectors, researchers and adventurers…
Dion exposes “nature” as a mere construct, which is subject to constant transformation and reinterpretation.
So in this current project, Concerning Hunting, the artist addresses hunting as a cultural practice that is rich in traditions, passionately persued, and highly controversial. One of the main things that fascinates Dion about hunting is it’s fundamental contradiction: the hunter’s sensitivity to, and profound knowledge of nature are , in the final analysis, manifested in the killing of animals. ..
Thus at the center of Dion’s artistic analysis is, once again, not nature itself, but the cultural engagement with nature.
Dieter Buchhart and Verena Gamper, editors.
Vivarium 2002, life from death.
For this project, the works I install will have a reference to nature, as a response to the environment.
The cycle of life and death is the truest essence on nature, in my opinion, so I’d like to convey part of that message somehow in my work.
This piece my Mark Dion, portrays this message in it’s material and the title. It also reminds me visually of the wall along the woodland walk.
Theatrum Mundi: Armarium (2001)
“In Theatrum Mundi: Armarium (2001), based on a collaboration with scholars and scientists at Cambridge University, the two artists filled two nearly identical cabinets with objects representing the belief systems of two cosmologists, Ramon Llull (b. 1232, Palma de Mallorca; d. 1315, Palma de Mallorca) and Robert Fludd (b. 1574 Kent; d. 1637, London). Each cabinet could be thought of as representing a cosmologist (a scientist who studies the universe in its totality), and each shelf in each cabinet represents a different category of his theory. The top shelves of both cabinets were left empty to symbolize both men’s belief in the existence of God. The cabinets are connected by a single-shelf cabinet containing a human skeleton. The skeleton points to the limited ability of man to conceive of the universe. The artists have great awe for the “sheer audacity of the attempt to explain existence,” but also recognize how inevitably “humancentric, and thus deeply flawed” this attempt is.“
Hanging from trees.
Monument for the Birds of Puffin Island, 2006
Tar and Feathers, 2006
Monument aux oiseaux de Guam, 2005
Les Nécrophores – L’Enterrement (Hommage à Jean-Henri Fabre), 1997
“Tar and Feathers,” 1996
Mandrillus Sphinx (detail), 2012. Wood, glass, plastic, tar, metal, ceramic, paper, cork, ribbon, and string.
Fancy Magpie and the Tar Pit 2008