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EXHIBITIONS

Mark Dion “OCEANOMANIA” at at the Oceanographic Museum and Villa Paloma, Monaco

“OCEANOMANIA: Souvenirs of Mysterious Seas, from the expedition to the aquarium” is the title of Mark Dion’s new project for Monaco. Continuing his investigations as a naturalist, archaeologist and traveler, the American artist explores the collections of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco to create the largest ever curiosity cabinet of the sea and exhibits his works, showing his interest for the oceans for over 20 years. At the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM), Dion dives into the Museum’s collections and presents a major intervention and a selection of artists at Villa Paloma, one of the NMNM’s exhibition spaces.

Two significant and contrasting recent maritime events form the overall conceptual framework of the project. These are the recently completed Census of Marine Life (2010) and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The first brought together 2,700 scientists from 80 nations over a 10 year period to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the oceans. As a result 6,000 new species have been identified, only 1,500 of which have been so far described. The Census also found the oceans to be richer, more connected and impacted than previously expected. The second, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion led to 4.9 million barrels of crude oil being spilled into the seas of the Gulf of Mexico, producing an 80 square mile kill zone and causing extensive damage to marine life. Its consequences are expected to be felt for decades to come.

Dion’s project examines our perception of the oceans and engages our sense of wonder at its diversity and our melancholy at its depletion. Investigating the development of our fascination with the sea in time and space, design, literature and art, Dion reveals how the uncanny and the marvelous have inspired scientific research and artistic creation through time.

Dion’s intervention at Villa Paloma brings together works by 20 visual artists. They show different aspects relating to our understanding of the sea and the ocean. They focus on the ocean not only as a site for exploration and discovery but also as a site where there is often unregulated and invisible human labor and exchange and where the marvelous aquatic life and mineral resources are often neglectfully exploited.

The exhibition includes the monumental series Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Bernard Buffet (1928-1999) and works by Matthew Barney, Ashley Bickerton, David Brooks, David Casini, Marcel Camia, Peter Coffin, Marcel Dzama, Katharina Fritsch, Klara Hobza, Hilario Isola and Matteo Norzi, Pam Longobardi, Jean Painlevé, James Prosek, Man Ray, Alexis Rockman, Allan Sekula, Xaviera Simmons, Laurent Tixador and Abraham Poincheval and Rosemarie Trockel.

In addition, Dion’s site specific intervention in the Salle aux Trésors at Villa Paloma comprises an eclectic gathering of sea-related art from the collections of NMNM and includes works by Lucio Fontana, J.M. W. Turner and Alphonse Visconti. As part of this museum investigation, two exquisite, rarely seen, Claude Monet paintings, showing the harbor of Monaco, will be on view for the first time in decades.

At the Oceanographic Museum, the curiosity cabinet is based on research and studies conducted by Mark Dion into the oceanographic collections and the specimens, gathered during maritime expeditions.

In addition, in the two oceanographic galleries, Dion displays 12 of his works, which have been brought from Europe and from the US and which illustrate his interest in the oceans for over 20 years.

OCEANOMANIA is a journey between the NMNM and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. It is interconnected by the theme of quest for scientific knowledge, as presented in the ideals of the Enlightenment, where the marvelous and the uncanny combined with the pursuit for learning. The exhibition also pays tribute to Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848-1922), pioneer of modern oceanography and founder of the Oceanographic Museum.

Co-curated by Sarina Basta and Cristiano Raimondi (NMNM) with the scientific support of Patrick Piguet (Oceanographic Museum of Monaco) and Nathalie Rosticher Giordano (NMNM).


a project by the Nouveau musée national de Monaco

through September 30, 2011

Top – Katharina Fritsch, Oktopus / Octopus, 2010. Courtesy: the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
© Katharina Fritsch / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn & ADAGP, Paris

General view of Mark Dion’s curiosity cabinet at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, 2011

From left – Mark Dion, A Tale of Two Seas: An account of Mark Dion’s and Stephan Dillemuth’s Journey Along The Shores of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and What they Found There, 1996. Courtesy: Christian Nagel Gallery, Berlin
Mark Dion, The Marine Biologist’s Locker (Cousteau’s Cabinet), 1993-1998. Courtesy: Hauser and Wirth, Zurich

The Davy Jones’ Locker, installation of Mark Dion based on highlights from the maritime art collections of the NMNM

The Davy Jones’ Locker, installation of Mark Dion based on highlights from the maritime art collections of the NMNM

The Davy Jones’ Locker (detail), installation of Mark Dion based on highlights from the maritime art collections of the NMNM

The Davy Jones’ Locker, installation of Mark Dion based on highlights from the maritime art collections of the NMNM

from left – Ashley Bickerton, Orange Shark, 2008; and Rosemarie Trockel, Study for well known, 2008

David Casini, Rite of Passage, 2008/2011 © The artist

Exhibition view, “OCEANOMANIA”, Villa Paloma (Nouveau Musée National de Monaco)

Peter Coffin, Untitled (Pirate), 2008. Courtesy: Private Collection and Galerie Perrotin, Paris

All images – Photo: NMNM and Mauro Magliani & Barbara Piovan

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