Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing
Location: The Turner Contemporary Gallery 

Over the Summer, I visited an exhibition that I had become incredibly excited by through reading online information. At first, I thought the exhibition was focusing purely on the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, but soon discovered that, in fact, it was fantastic combination of all aspects of human curiosity in a fascinating variety of different forms.

Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing, looks at the many different ways that humanity has explored our world and beyond. The exhibition hosts a wide range of artistic practices, from drawings and photography, to writing and taxidermy. It shows you the technical analysis of our world by one person to the fantastical creations of another.

Walking through, I felt that, more than anything, humanity itself is one of the most amazing curiosities, as the sheer abundance of different ways people perceive our shared world create pocket worlds of fascination and understanding, that only through that persons desire to share it with others, do we catch a glimpse and become a step closer to understand not necessarily the world as a whole, but perhaps that persons perceptions of it.

One thing I found particularly interesting, was the Curiosity cabinets of the 17th century. These cabinets (a misleading name as they could very well be a whole room or bigger) would host a variety of different objects that enticed the owner, and were thought to be important or precious, or just curious.

These cabinets were shown and described early on in the exhibition, and if you payed attention, or picked up a souvenir guide, it became apparent that the whole exhibition felt like we were walking through a curiosity cabinet. The work by Pablo Bronstein, ‘Museum Section’, is in fact a depiction of the exhibition as one large curiosity cabinet confined within a building.

I believe the cultural significance of this work in obvious to all. It is commenting on the very nature of human beings and how we interact with the world and each other. It comments on many cultures, and the multiple different ways they have explored beyond there own culture. Also, I think there is cultural significance in the help this sort of exhibition brings to Margate. The whole of margate joined in on the exhibition, with spray painted art of the works scattered all around on walls, windows, doors and shops. It turned all of Margate into one big curiosity, drawing you towards the exhibition to discover the meaning and purpose of the scattered graffiti.

I could rant and rave about this exhibition for much longer, and comb through every detail and piece of work that sent my brain turning. But that would defeat the point of curiosity, I can merely recommend it highly.

‘Curiosity goes in search of knowledge, but leaves some such mysteries intact. Onward, for we have only just begun.’ – Brian Dillon, Curator