The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is certainly stepping up the wonderful array of events for their 100 days of Summer. Moving into February the big announcement is that the much admired and acclaimed travelling exhibition by artist Rod McRae WUNDERKAMMER, The Cabinet of Wonders is starting 5th February – 30th April.
Open on weekdays 10 am to 4pm at their headquarters in Tasma Terrace, Melbourne (a step and jump from the top of Collins St), Rod McRae’s fantastic collection of taxidermy artworks will be exploring the strained relationship humanity has with the wild natural world. The Show is all about encouraging discussion on a broad range of issues, including climate change, pollution, stewardship, hunting and animal-human relations.
Striking, provocative and inspiring, the installation will certainly set tongues wagging. Spread across six rooms over three levels of Tasma Terrace the viewer experience will be all about discovery and surprise.
Art should always challenge our intellect and make us think, it is one of its functions whether its a portrait of a human being or an animal as it is in this case, although in 3D and not on a canvas. The animals are ethically sourced and they range from a polar bear to a zebra and from insects to penguins. The installations are meant to be thought-provoking and unnatural.
So what is the test of a great portrait? Is it not empathy, the power of the artist to enter into the sitter’s emotions and convey these feelings to another – to make that person also experience empathy. Well that is what Rod McRae aims to do with his extraordinary array of animals by preserving them with taxidermy techniques.
It is art’s function; to reveal the sitter as themselves, and this it seems Rod McRae has achieved. He is keen to discover ‘how art can influence and reinforce the environment and climate change debate’ and wants to ‘… create installations to challenge human perceptions of the natural world and the non human species that inhabit it.’
We cannot get up close and personal with these animals in the wild, but we certainly can here while having a meaningful time to think about and discuss our own attitude towards them. WUNDERKAMMER, The Cabinet of Wonders, Artist Rod McRae at Tasma Terrace, Parliament Place, Melbourne | EXHIBITION BOOKINGS