Seek Out Oddities Among The Already-Odd

Sarah Stewart
By Sarah Stewart Last edited 38 months ago
Seek Out Oddities Among The Already-Odd
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The most recent art exhibition at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curosities (it opened a couple of weeks back) capitalises on its wonderously eclectic permanent collection. In the Infected Museum, contemporary artists have peppered the usual objects on display with their own work — cleverly subverting the collection and transforming it into a virtual feast for the eyes and imagination. This is the case quite literally with what appears to be a baroque feast fashioned from ceramics, goblets and elaborate cakestands, intermingled with lobsters and seashells — a sort of underwater Mad Hatter's tea party.

In true wunderkammer form there are no labels or guides here — you have to sift through the collection in order to find the newly inserted pieces — a true treasure hunt. Some of the works — such as Tessa Farmer's complex 'fairy-battleground' mobiles of suspended insects and a sheep's skull, or the Theatre of Dolls' macabre carnival figures — are easy enough to spot. Others — like Kate MccGwire's curving feathered sculpture and Rufus White's cases of carefully-arranged specimens — blend in seamlessly. Watch out for Paul Hazelton's incredible figures made of congealed dust — one of them, a woman dancing on the lens of a vintage camera.

Along the way you might also pick out such permanent collection ephemera as African ceremonial masks, relicts of a crucified artist (including a red sequined suit), and... Russell Brand's actual pubes.

Until September 2016 visitors also have the opportunity to view rare works by a group of British Surrealist artists, active during the 1930s-50s. The works by Austin Osman Spare are shown in the 'Spare' room, along with works by Leonora Carrington, Robin Ironside and Pailthorpe and Mednikoff.

And you can muse on what you've seen in the museum's atmospheric bar, sipping a cocktail under the watchful glass eyes of various stuffed ungulates. This is also where The Last Tuesday Society hosts an eclectic and inspiring series of lectures on a range of topics: wearable art, cocktail-making, tropical fish keeping and (appropriately) a hands-on taxidermy workshop.

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is on 11 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RP. Admission: £3, includes both the museum and the art exhibition. Londonist saw this exhibition with a complimentary ticket.

For more art to see in London, visit our top 10 art openings for March.

Last Updated 09 March 2015