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THE CABINET OF WONDERS #3 The Cabinet of Wonders #3 01/02/2017 - 27/05/2017 The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing project devised and curated by Ian Wieczorek Presented in association with Linenhall Arts Centre

PREFACE Cabinets of Curiosities, also known as Kunstkabinette or Wunderkammern, were collections of unusual objects which offered insights into the rich and often curious diversity of the natural world and beyond, spanning everything from antiquities and religious relics to natural ‘freaks’, medical curiosities and other uncategorisable items. Inspired by the empirical approach of Classical thinkers such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, Cabinets of Curiosities found their beginnings in the time of the Renaissance. Initially seen as both edifying and as markers of status for their collector-curators, they offered a cocktail of learning and entertainment. The Cabinets remained a mostly exclusive preserve of the rich and influential, until in the 19th century the likes of showman PT Barnum’s American Museum introduced a more public and often sensationalist sensibility. While the fashion for Cabinets of Curiosities no longer holds popular currency (with a few notable exceptions), they paved the way for the more formal and rigorous museum model that we are familiar with today. Taking its inspiration from the Cabinet of Curiosities, The Cabinet of Wonders presents a series of objects mined from the creative imagination of a selection of contemporary visual artists. Inspired by the eclectic approach of the original collector-curators, it presents a range of works that will hopefully intrigue and engage the passing viewer.

CURATOR’S NOTE This catalogue documents the third incarnation of The Cabinet of Wonders. As previously, it is the result of an open call-out to artists. The Cabinet of Wonders project acknowledges the original phenomenon of Cabinets of Curiosities, embodying the subjective eclecticism excercised by collectors as early practitioners of curatorial practice, in their attempts to explore, reflect and understand the world around them. The artists: Paul Bokslag applies the elegance of mathematics to a discarded Coke bottle; Cecilia Bullo offers a meditation on the boundary between art and science, and investigates addiction as a way to exorcise inadequacy and pain; Stefania Corbelli commemorates a subversive take on the message-ina-bottle, and the destruction of bridges in Serbia in 1999; John Gayer evokes the etherial lightness of a cloud; Maree Hensey explores memory, loss, the unknown, subliminal and haunting relics of our past and present lives; Annabel Konig presents an aesthetic reaction to concerns about the many ways in which people are losing their place of residence; Chris Leach gives us a startling, unexpected and quietly provocative depiction of a major city; Cecilia Moore offers two contrasting explorations of hidden energy in the natural world; Cosette Olohan explores the fluidity of text in terms of meaning - intended meaning, hidden meaning, new meaning. With thanks as ever to the Linenhall Arts Centre for facilitating this project, and to all the artists who submitted proposals for the project. Ian Wieczorek

Paul Bokslag Vessel

(PET bottle, embroidery thread, oak base) Vessel is a string sculpture inside an upside-down discarded Coke bottle, reminiscent of old mathematical models. A continues length of embroidery thread weaves in and out of the perforated PET bottle to form a shape that includes two ‘ruled surfaces’. Like the bottle itself, these ‘hyperboloids’ describe space rather than physically occupying it.

Cecilia Bullo Carnu Carnivorous

(bee’s wax, horn, sheep hair)


(teddy bear, Citalopram drug leaflets, fabric, pins) Cecilia Bullo explores the relationship with objects/amulets which often embody for the holder almost magical properties. The viewer is invited into an imaginary inner journey using as triggers uncanny objects/sculptures, which have an encoded symbolism, as well as allowing free association. In these work proposed, the artist explores her ongoing interest in mutation and the boundary between art and science as well as investigating self-harm and addiction as a way to exorcise inadequacy and pain.

Stefania Corbelli First (& Last) Pigeon Launch (mixed media)

Stari Most

(wax, gauze, cloth, photographs) First (& Last) Pigeon Launch: In an age of electronic communication and after finding a message in a bottle inteh River Mawddach (Northwest Wales), this is the relic of a subversive attempt to launch a message-carying pigeon from each county on the globe. An unidentified, untraceable message without addressee. (To date only one launch has taken place, from the city of Lecce, S. Italy, in 2002.) Stari Most: This work comprises wax units made for the construction and self-destruction of bridges, in commemoration of the countless bridges bombed by NATO during Allied force attacks in Serbia (March - June 1999). These units are the protagonists in a video installation shown at 1st Liverpool Biennial, 1999.

John Gayer Cloud 2016 (from the series Dreams of a Missing Landmark) (polyester fill) Part of the idea behind this work is materialising the immaterial. That’s how clouds are. They collect and separate, grow dense and dissipate, grow dense and dissipate, become opaque and thin to virtually transparent haze. It also acknowledges clouds as carriers/storers of water.

Maree Hensey Mother Missing

(museum glass containers with ash and text) My current work explores memory, loss, the unknown, subliminal and haunting relics of our past and present lives. Ritual, repetitive action, alchemy and substrate are integral components in my practice. I use materials that are rich in associations and investigate ways to transform them, often projecting new identities and layers of meaning onto the work in doing so. Making the work involves burning, cutting, shredding of previous works, of books, photographs, and letters. My work is curatorial in that it assembles, preserves and documents. There is a sense of finality in the doing, the burning, cutting and shredding. I am interested in the transformation. Like traces or remnants, the work points forwards and backwards at the same time. For the viewer I have no overarching authorial narrative and I do not want to provide resolutions but simply offer the viewer a complex palimpsest of ideas. The making of this artwork involves the repeated removal of the word ‘Mother’ from the pages and chapters of the book Motherhood in Ireland (author Patricia Kennedy). The cutout words are placed into the museum glass containers that are twinned with similar containers containing ash from the incinerated remainder of the book.

Annabel KÜnig Peter’s Nest (text, nest and small booklet) Nest came about as an aesthetic reaction to my concerns about the many ways in which people are losing their place of residence; be this through homelessness, a financial crisis, violent displacement, hunger or because trying to hold on to a home is more difficult that holding on to the family. Over time Nest developed into a collaboration with the general public and it is an ongoing work. Many of the found nests were donated to me. I then asked contributors to send me an object that would be placed in a nest relating to the subject of an empty/abandoned nest. Beside each image there is a small card explaining, in a few lines of text, the details of the donor’s reason and choice of object. For me, a nest conjures up a sense of home, a safe and secure space for growing up, living in and developing as an individual and as a family. Many people are not afforded this luxury. Each of the objects and texts within the nests also represents a voice from our broad community. Some have chosen an object to highlight concerns about those who are in difficult situations, and some have chosen to comment about their own lives. The overall message is a softly spoken but, none the less, urgent political comment on our society. By contributing within an artwork, voice is given to those who would not usually express themselves in such a visual manner.

Chris Leach Denmark, Copenhagen (graphite, crayon, chalk, scalpel & gesso on oak) The mainstay of my practice is drawing. I am currently working on a project to produce a miniature drawing of every capital city in the world, of which there are 195. The work shown in Cabinet of Wonders was from a ‘first draft’ run that I eventually abandoned due to a number of aesthetic and material concerns. What I am seeking to clarify are the ways in which the world is very much a social and political construct, a fabrication made by ourselves to serve our own ends. There is a humanistic element to my work: it is a world made human and fragile, reduced to basic materials, there is an empathy of means within each of the places depicted that allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the particular spaces. The work is in a wider sense about your own jurisdictions and place within the world; it manipulates physical and psychological shifts in scale to facilitate an engagement and awareness of the world. The drawings are specific places and locations,they are about proximities and relativities of scale on both a psychological and material level. They are constructed to encourage an intimate response, enticing the viewer towards the surface of the composition as a point of mediation between the image and the elements that make up the work.

Cecilia Moore Light Heart (xray, bronze, copper, LED bulb)


(peat briquette, old light switch, plastic tube, model lightbulbs) Taking as a starting point the function of a pacemaker, which emits an electrical charge to the heart, Light Heart explores the notion that the the heart might be harnessed to power an electronic device, or in this case a small light. Peat in the bogs is an age old source of power, but is destroyed to recoup energy, either burned as a heat or energy source, or broken down and used as plant compost. Incendiary suggests that perhaps there are gentler ways it can yield its energy.

Cosette Olohan Text, context, subtext

(found book, glue, paper letters) This work explores the fluidity of text in terms of meaning intended meaning, hidden meaning, new meaning.

The word ‘text’ has its origin in the latin word ‘texere’, to weave. Here the woven text has been ‘unravelled’, reduced down to individual letters, so that its original meaning has been hidden or lost. The work is inspired by the views of modern critical/ philosophical thinkers such as Jacques Derrida who sought to challenge our preconceived ideas on how text conveys meaning. Derrida believed that no one possesses the full significance of their own words. Texts in some sense write themselves: i.e. are independent of an author or his intentions, and are therefore open to repeated interpretation. This work is evocative of the original text, the meaning of which is now obscured. It is also suggestive of the limitless potential meanings and interpretations that can be constructed from its constituent elements.

The Cabinet of Wonders Email: Website: Linenhall Arts Centre Linenhall Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo F23 AN24 Ireland Tel: (+) 94 9023733 Email: Website: Ian Wieczorek Tel: (+) 353 86 8200886 Email: Website:

Cabinet of Wonders #3  

The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing visual art project at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. From the time of the Renaissance,...

Cabinet of Wonders #3  

The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing visual art project at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. From the time of the Renaissance,...