Taxidermy lovers that we are here at TWR, we were excited to hear that Polly Morgan had a new exhibition at the wonderful All Visual Arts Gallery in London. We nigh-on skipped to it in fact.
A word of warning.
In making the work for Endless Plains, Polly went to the Serengeti to study the savage landscape and nature, when she came back she got peritonitis and gangrene, and this brush with near-death has (we think) given her art a pretty dark turn. It’s beautiful and well worth seeing as no one quite does taxidermy like Ms Morgan, but where her previous pieces have had a touch of humour and romantic charm, this work is edging her viewers towards a more challenging appreciation of how we see life and death. Making a bat cave out of the stomach carcass of a stag, with a few carnivorous goldfinches pecking at the head sets the dark but exciting tone.
Spookily cute looking piglets are introduced in this work, supping at the sap of a rotting tree bark, but my favourite works were the beautiful sketches of delicate nests, drawn using the cremated remains of the dead birds who once inhabited them. There’s a tiny corpse of the bird laying supine on the top of each of the frames too. Wonderful.
The piece Harbour features a soft furry fox entwined within the slimy-shiny arms of an octopus, with tiny birds fluttering above. For anyone who’s been to see Prometheus recently, it will strike an unsettling chord.
On until 31st July at the All Visual Gallery, 2 Omega Place, London N1 9DR, just around the corner from Gagosian Gallery and just across the road from Drink Shop Do, where we retired to for a restorative cup of coronation tea and cake.