A 21st Century Ethical Wunderkammer
Art, myth, natural history, ecology and philosophy meet in a celebration of wonderment, intuition, and ambiguity.
In an installation of over 300 works assembled over a period of twenty years, artist Angela Cockayne creates a contemporary cabinet of curiosity - on board an old forty-four foot wooden vessel, nestling in a sheep pasture in rural Cornwall. In a modern-day act of retrieval, commemoration, and futurity, the Ark Embrace hosts a collection of ‘undiscovered species’ and objects responding to the themes of the Wunderkammer.
This eclectic collation of liminal creatures and objects whose categorical boundaries are yet to be defined echoes the first public museum in England: the Tradescant collection (1677), marking the time and space between its foundation in the 17th century era of discovery, and the 21st century age of the anthropocene, a period during which knowledge and the disciplines of arts, humanities and science were unified, and separated.
Five centuries ago the cabinet of curiosity or Wunderkammer transported the visitor into the realm of fascination and reflection. The diverse categories of its objects allowed the fluid transgression of boundaries - such bewildering displays were purposefully oblique, a non-hierarchical, united field of knowledge that would later separate into the categories and taxonomies of museums, art galleries, and the natural history and science museums. By restoring that sense of wonder and by looking through the prism of our future world, Ark Embrace hosts an archive vault / seed bank of ideas and artworks, moving between disciplines and practices.
The result is a new chamber of wonders, an archaic ark of the past, present and future, setting sail into a voyage of rediscovery. And as it sets out on its fantastical voyage, the vessel will question our notional dominion, discerning new and old patterns in the evanescent trails we leave in our wake.
link to images instagram.com/angelacockayne/?hl=en