ANiMAL – Art Science Nature Society is a storytelling exhibition that explores the animal world through the lenses of Art, Science, Nature and Society, and an attempt to convey the complexities of the mutual reliance between humans and animals.
We share the same planet with animals. They are an elemental presence in our cognizance of the world and have been the subject of art since the earliest times of cave paintings. Insects, birds, and mammals play compelling roles in literature and film, and they are the enduring protagonists in mythology and religion. The human population exploits a large number of animal species for their own survival, while animal pets provide their owners with physical and emotional benefits.
This exhibition discusses the various connections between humans and animals by exploring the themes of "Encyclopaedia, compendia and scientific inquiry" and "Auspicious symbols and homophonic puns." It features animal-inspired artworks from the National Palace Museum's collection and captivating new media art created by the City University of Hong Kong. The exhibition assembles the different ways biological records were created since ancient times and marks the artistic turn in the humanistic trend of scientific exploration. It brings together new media artworks inspired by the museum's collection, including Morphosis of Castiglione's Hundred Horses and the Universal World of Ferdinand Verbiest, and artworks based on modern medical technology, such as the work CT Scans of a Cat and a Dog. On the other hand, the installation Projection mapping "Prosperity Multiplies a Hundredfold" concretizes the emblematic significance given to animals, and expresses the unique sentiments and values that humans have projected on to animals.
A.A. Milne wrote: "Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though." The ANiMAL exhibition invites its visitors to listen to the extraordinary web of stories that emanate from the animal world, stories that we, in turn, build upon and project back to create a condition of universal wonder and inspiration.