The Wonder Room


Palazzo dei Cartelloni Gallery, Florence, Italy
January 14- February 28th, 2014

Wunderkammer, or Wonder Rooms were early private cabinets of curiosities, which contained collections of objects, minerals, and taxidermy animals of the natural world which science had yet to categorize. For the exhibition ‘The Wonder Room’ Lia Halloran has created over 30 new works for the SACI gallery based on specimens in the oldest science museum in Europe, La Specola. Still located in its original location next to the Pitti Palace, it contains a famous collection of anatomical waxes from the 18th century. Several years ago Halloran spent a week in La Specola documenting various parts of the museum and was especially fascinated by the Monkeys and Hummingbirds because of their macabre and delicate nature. Documentation (notes, drawings, photographs) of these species was used as a reference to paint a negative in reverse which was then used in a darkroom to create a positive image of the creatures. The result is an image strange in nature because it is not entirely drawing, nor entirely a photograph either. Halloran’s work often uses concepts in science as a bounding point, exploring how perception, time, and scale informs the human desire to understand the world and our emotional and psychological place within it.