Mark Fairnington: A London Assembly

Mark Fairnington: A London Assembly
Library Shelf Location 18.FAIR
Publication Date 01 May 2015

Published to accompany the exhibition at Delahunty, London, illustrating all the works presented, and text by Andrew Lambirth. The show featured a series of works that resulted from a research project with the Wellcome Collection.

Created in the late 19th and early 20th century the Henry Wellcome Collection became a history of how the human body has been perceived, understood and studied in different cultures. It is a place where the histories of art and science criss-cross. Wellcome’s collecting was on an unprecedented scale and at the time of his death in 1936 the collection was too vast and disorderly to be organised or researched. Over the next 40 years it was divided up and dispersed around the world, objects being gifted to libraries, museums, private homes, hospitals, charities, military units and churches.

What remains of the collection is now housed in a storage facility in West Kensington and is not accessible to the general public. The new paintings document, describe and reimagine some of the human images contained within it, situating them within the historical context of portrait and still life painting. Objects that are housed in closed cabinets, fluidly shift between medicine, art and anthropology, creating juxtapositions that are disturbing, unexpected and profoundly moving. There are rooms of prosthetic limbs and shelves with plaster death masks of executed criminals. The figure is present here as specimen and image and in the form of objects made to fit the body, operate upon it, injure, disguise, protect, embellish and contain it.

The paintings represent the objects in the collection, as they are in situ, contained but not curated. The paintings and paradoxically the fictions required to make them convincing, generate representations of the collection abstracted from their context. Resituated within a poetic framework their emotive potential becomes articulated, hiding as it were, in plain sight.

ISBN 9780993286209
Author Andrew Lambirth
Format Hardback
Publisher Delahunty
Related Artist Mark Fairnington
Category Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team)
Keywords Natural History, Museum display, Archives, Painting, Portraiture, still life painting, Culture and Museums, Human body, Art and Science

Other Artists

Other Recent Books