An Unnatural History of Nature
20 Aug 2011 - 9 Oct 2011
An exhibition of ceramic and video work by Sydney College of the Arts lecturers Adam Geczy and Jan Guy.
This exhibition presented delicate ceramics, made from fine bone china, alongside video works and photography in an installation exploring museology, the construction of nature and the agonistic human relationship between nature and mediation. At the core of the exhibition was the Ceramic Surgery suite, exotic birds made of bone china. The bones from which the ceramic were made were obtained from the familiar, prosaic birds that we eat: turkey, chicken, quail. These works spoke of a transformation; tales of the alteration of nature, a wager between humans and nature in which human hubris usually gets more than it bargained for. These generic birds metamorphosed into ones of beauty but at the price of their stasis: they sat entombed within their glass domes. The stands and vitrine were purpose built; their style vaguely Art Nouveau, extracted from an era of ‘art-for-art’s sake’ and decadence, in which the synthetic took precedence over the natural. Other components to this work included photography, video and drawing. The work offered an image of unfettered nature, but crucially, they were intangible and transient; a foil to the inscrutable yet lovely deadness of their counterparts made of bone china.