Astonishing Science. Spectacular museum.
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Image Andreas Schmidt
Image Brian Catling
Location: Challenge of Materials gallery, first floor (no longer on display)
Brian Catling was commissioned to create two artworks for Oak Repels Lightning, a temporary art exhibition in the Challenge of Materials and Chemistry galleries in 1998. For the opening of the Challenge of Materials gallery, Catling created The Wrong Stuff: Sculptural Objects in a Field of Influence, a ventriloquist performance using a wooden dummy of a child, with a turnip for a head, sitting on his knee. The performance was a distorted recollection of the artist's recurrent childhood visits to the Science Museum with his father. During the performance a series of questions and answers interrogated the visual recognition and meaning of the collection in the gallery.
Catling also created The Pledges, a series of poetic handwritten texts next to glass receptacles containing different raw materials. The texts questioned the role and construction of materials in different areas of the Museum's collection, creating an installation that poetically contrasted the objects' proper functions, such as a telescope made of tar, its lenses constructed of the mashed roots from deeply embedded ancient trees. Catling also read The Pledges during the opening of the Challenge of Materials gallery.
British-born Brian Catling (born 1948) is a poet, sculptor and performance artist who is currently concentrating on video and live work. He founded the international performance group The Wolf in the Winter.
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