Exhibition | Wunderkammer | at | Colchester | Art Week

Wunderkammer

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Date: 
Saturday, 11 March 2017

Firstsite is delighted to announce WUNDERKAMMER, an exhibition of strange and curious objects drawn from the collections of Colchester and Ipswich Museums.

Tying in with the gallery’s year-long theme of ‘Identity’, WUNDERKAMMER – after the German term meaning ‘chamber of wonders’ – features an array of treasures selected for their relationship to the town. For example, it includes Arthur Ackland Hunt’s painting Dr. William Gilberd showing his experiments on electricity to Queen Elizabeth and her court (c. 1900), which is on loan from Colchester Town Hall.

Gilberd, who was born in Colchester in 1544, was a physician, physicist and natural philosopher, and is credited as the originator of the term ‘electricity’. The painting also portrays Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake as onlookers.

Wunderkammer also includes many quirky items such as the ‘lobster people’. This depicts two ‘people’ constructed of preserved lobster claws pushing a third in a wheelbarrow. Other highlights include a Palaeolithic hand axe, a Roman face pot, a William de Morgan fish vase, a zebra skull and a Trapdoor spider burrow.

Also on display is Connor Barrett’s Crucifixion of Mankind (1961), a work that was sited at Colchester Library for 40 years. Steeped in symbolism, the piece is inspired by artist William Blake. Two crucified figures, one representing Christ and the other representing body and spirit, suffer silently on either side of the work, whilst between them gloats a grotesque two-headed figure meant to symbolise a non-empathetic, emotionless mob. At the very top of the work, angels grieve and a giant looming face cries sadly.

Says Firstsite director Sally Shaw: ‘I am delighted to be working in cooperation with the local museums whose collections contain so many wonderful objects. We at Firstsite are thrilled to share the ever-evolving exhibition with the community and explore this year’s theme of ‘Identity’ together. Colchester has a unique and vibrant heritage which I am happy to be able to shine a light on with Wunderkammer.’

Artist ( Description ): 

Various

Venue ( Address ): 

Firstsite,
Lewis Gardens
High Street
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1JH

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