Izzy Elstob

is researching the causes of an apparent resurgence in the employment of the natural history specimen in (mainly British) contemporary art from the 1970s right up to artists who have emerged in the last decade. It is the aim to position these artists in a far wider historical trajectory that includes objects and creators from the Enlightenment and Victorian eras of scientific and artistic overlaps. The project will follow the broad themes of anatomy, zoology and botany, focusing on themes including taxidermy, collective display, scientific classification and craftsmanship. Through my research I hope to locate a very recent resurgence within a wider history of the human desire to collect, display and intervene upon the natural history specimen.

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Contributed by Izzy Elstob

Kiki Smith: Hand in Jar, 1983