Levine & Pennington Wilson.jpg

Curators Charlie Levine and Kate Pennington-Wilson took inspiration from the Art and Design Archives to create Wunderkammer, an installation, event and exhibition in 2008.

They said of the project at the time:

“Wunderkammer steals its mode of display directly from the past in the form of museum display and the Renaissance cabinet of curiosity, however it looks, imminently, towards the future; the uncertain future of contemporary curatorial practice, contemporary art forms as well as the school itself.

Birmingham School of Art is an untapped visual resource within the Midlands. Its corridors, staircases, archive and studios are laced with activity, excitement and intrigue.  It is little wonder then that current and former curatorial students there have decided to expose this.  Kate Pennington-Wilson and Charlie Levine, in collaboration with Birmingham Institute of Art and Design Archives, are presenting three cabinets of curiosity, housing previous and current students work.

The show is comprised of a combination of works from current students; the result of exploring the studios within Margaret Street, and pieces chosen from the archives which date back to the mid 1800s.  This cabinet displays a collection of old and new curiosities, which directly examine how the school has grown and how the practice of ‘art’ and curation has progressed since its establishment over 100 years ago.  This juxtaposition of objects suggests a rough time line and highlights certain patches of intrigue within Margaret Street's extraordinary history. Due to the works being mixed together the links and connections become abstract and entwined, it is not a chronology of Birmingham School of Art students, but rather a Wunderkammer; a cabinet of curiosity.

On the opening night two former students of Margaret Street, David Miller and Edward Wakefield, will be placed inside cabinets as if scientific specimens on display, reminiscent of the earliest forms of museum display.  Both becoming characters inspired by their time at Margaret Street, they hint at immortality through two very different approaches but at the same time contradict this notion by ‘lying in state’ reaffirming the traditional view of the museum as housing ‘dead artefacts.’ Miller’s performance appears quiet, reflective, restrictive and intimate against Wakefield’s manic and loud self-installation.  After the preview evening Miller and Wakefield’s empty clothes will be all that remains, an eerie echo of what once was.

Singling out specific works and allowing a viewer to examine the objects through a self-composed narrative extends Wunderkammer as a work of fiction; a tale that was once told and will be re-told for generations yet to come.”

Artists included: Ana Benlloch, Chiara Gill, Rachel Mary Haines, David Miller, Karen Moore, Kieren Palmer, Claudia Simm and Edward Wakefield.


To visit Charlie Levines website please Click Here