A Duck Mr.Darwin

Evolutionary Thinking & The Struggle To Exist

10 April 2009 - 20 September 2009

Charles Avery // Marcus Coates // Dorothy Cross // Mark Dion // Andrew Dodds // Mark Fairnington // Ben Jeans Houghton // Tania Kovats // Conrad Shawcross

A Duck for Mr. Darwin is a group exhibition of contemporary artists exploring evolutionary thinking and the Theory of Natural Selection. The exhibition focuses on the legacy of Charles Darwin’s ideas and is informed by the spirit of experimentation which was so distinctive to the time in which he lived.

A Duck for Mr. Darwin presents individual artworks which mix fact and fiction, experimentation and observation, methods of display and several artists’ own research of and journeys to the Galapagos Islands.  Located within Level 3 gallery, the exhibition presents work by nine contemporary artists including a number of new commissions.

Journey with the Blue Footed Booby around the Galapagos Islands in a new film by Marcus Coates, see earthworms in Tania Kovats’s new piece entitled Worm, a glass fronted display of a working wormery, which will change over the course of the exhibition and explore Mark Dion’s re-presentation of collected equipment, artefacts and trappings of the Tropical Collectors.

The exhibition title references the story of an exchange of letters between the young naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. In 1857 Wallace was to send Darwin a specimen - a domestic duck from the island of Lombok. Just a year later he would send a short twenty page essay on species variation. This correspondence proved to be an important catalyst precipitating the publishing of Darwin’s monumental theory – the Origin of Species in 1859.

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