Curiosity is an ambiguous passion: the virtuous impulse behind the search for knowledge and at the same time a disreputable desire for novelty and strangeness.
Curiosity: Art and the Pleasure of Knowing is the hardback publication that accompanies the Hayward Touring exhibition of the same name curated by Brian Dillon and organised in association with New York art and culture magazine Cabinet. This fascinating book concentrates on contemporary art practices’ return to the intellectual and aesthetic freedom that emerged during the seventeenth century mixing art and science, ancient and modern, reality and fiction.
Taking the cabinet of curiosities as its founding motif, and through a combination of contemporary art and historical artefacts, Curiosity explores the contradictory pleasure that comes from the search for the wondrous and bizarre. Drawing on intriguing artworks, objects, images and narratives, this lavishly illustrated volume explores everything from the anthropological to the occult.
Curiosity features new texts by Brian Dillon and Marina Warner, and an anthology of writings on the topic of curiosity throughout the ages, as well as an eclectic selection of objects, as diverse as the stuffed Horniman Museum walrus, Leonardo da Vinci’s intricate pen and ink studies, Dürer’s celebrated rhinoceros woodcut, late nineteenth century models of aquatic creatures by German glassmakers Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, alongside the works of contemporary artists including Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Pablo Bronstein, Tacita Dean, Katie Paterson, Gerard Byrne and The Center for Land Use Interpretation.
In Curiosity: Art and the Pleasure of Knowing, past and present fascinations coexist, making this a perfect guide for those interested in astronomy, animals, maps, natural wonders and humankind’s obsession with collecting—blurring the boundaries of art, science and fantasy.
23.5 x 15 cm
133 colour and b/w ills
ISBN 978 1 85332 313 3
Designed by John Morgan Studio