Guest post by Eleanor Edwardes
American-born artist Mark Dion, like his work, defies easy definition. From installation to curation, drawing to sculpture, performance and print, his practice spans many forms. One might remember him best for his Mobile Gull Appreciation Unit (a giant, interactive mobile seagull), his creation of a Library for the Birds of New York or the time he dredged the Thames and methodically displayed the findings in the Tate Modern.
Now visitors will be able to explore the result of Dion’s expeditions into the rainforest and his work with zoological and conservation societies – a series of large-scale installations both old and new, titled Theatre of the Natural World at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Amongst these will be the Bureau for the Centre of the Study for Surrealism and its Legacy, a curator’s office filled with scientific curiosities and surreal objects. Also featured will be The Wonder Workshop; a ghostly ‘phantom museum’ of extinct animals and scientific tools, Hunting Blinds; a series of hunter’s hiding shelters, and a naturalist’s study.
'I want to create a situation in which the information I’m presenting is looked at critically – not taken for granted – and is examined with caution,' Dion explains. 'There are people who read culture very cautiously and critically. That’s a healthy way to approach the information that we’re given every day. That’s one of the things I’m very engaged with in my work – trying to hone that skill in myself and, I hope, in people who look at my work.'
Mark Dion – Theatre of the Natural World, 14 Feb - 13 May 2018
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX