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Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

    Artwork: Walton Ford, Eureka, 2017
    Walton Ford, Eureka, 2017. Image by Tom Powel Imaging. Courtesy of the artist

    Early scientific illustrations, which were often carried out on paper and in watercolour techniques, continue to fascinate and inspire artists in our time. The exhibition consists of two linked parts, where contemporary art is shown against a solid background of historical works. The threads go back to the scientific works of Carl von Linné and the Rudbeck family, who from the middle of the 17th century distinguished themselves with their efforts in terms of medical research and detailed, scientific images of Swedish flora and fauna. The exhibition also includes works by the German illustrator and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), who worked in Frankfurt and Nuremberg before moving to Amsterdam, the American artist James John Audubon (1785–1851), the Finnish brothers Wilhelm von Wright (1810–1887) and Magnus von Wright (1805–1868) and the German artist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) – a visionary artist and prominent natural scientist who coined the term ecology. These artists depicted plants and wildlife from a scientific point of view, with the aim to document and systematize the diversity of nature during a time when the world was being discovered. Their works will be presented in dialogue with modern art that profoundly portrays the great challenges of our time in ecology, climate issues and mass extinctions that occur in the animal world and that threaten the balance required for life on earth to continue.

    Curators: Mark D Johnson and Bera Nordal

    Participating artists

    Classical artists:

    Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630–1702), Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660–1740), Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), James Audubon (1785–1851), Barbara Regina Dietzsch (1706–1783), Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919), Magnus von Wright (1805–1868) & Wilhelm von Wright (1810–1887)

    Contemporary artists:

    Carlos Amorales, Mark Dion, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Walton Ford, Christine Ödlund, Astrid Svangren & teamLab

    Artwork: page from Olof Rudbeck the Elder's Book of Flowers no 9 (p. 46), 1689–ca. 1709
    From Olof Rudbeck the Elder's Book of Flowers no 9 (p. 46), 1689–ca. 1709. Courtesy of Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, Carolina Rediviva, Uppsala
    Konstverk: Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, plate 8, 1899–1904
    Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, plate 8, 1899–1904