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For Haunch of Venison's first exhibition in its temporary Burlington Gardens location, the Christie's-owned gallery has pulled together a star-studded--and richly macabre--showstopper. The new space, a stately building that formerly housed the Museum of Mankind, provides a bucolic setting for what turns out to be a provocative riff on the museum's past as a cabinet of curiosities, with works by mega-artists from Damien Hirst and Sophie Calle to newcomers like Jamie Shovlin interacting on all levels with the site's history.
Taxidermy and musty relics abound in "Mythologies," including Hyungkoo Lee's skeletal cartoon characters ("Tweety and Sylvester"), cannibalistic stuffed Dobermans by Jochem Hendricks, Jannis Kounellis' eerie worn overcoats and shoes, and Polly Morgan's delicate birds that lie in state in a glass cabinet like little Sleeping Beauties. Other works counter these often coy mementi mori with visions of religion and the afterlife. Bill Viola's six-screened video "Small Saints" is an exquisite water-fuelled meditation on life and death, while other works like Wim Delvoye's twisted crown of thorns, "Pretzel #2," ponder the disillusionment of faith. The show, which opened last month with a gala premiere that drew much of the London art world, will run through April 25th.
Browse the show at Haunch of Venison's Web site:
Read Adrian Searle's unenthusiastic take on "Mythologies" in the Guardian:
Read the Independent's positive review:
Read Artforum.com's coverage of the vernissage: