Aggregate, Jamie Shovlin

The Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh, Sat 20 Jan-Sat 10 March


Museological stirrings are already afoot at the Talbot Rice Gallery. London-based artist Jamie Shovlin has pulled out multiple dusty copies of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species from the University of Edinburgh’s private collection, ready to be displayed alongside a preserved sparrow hawk in an entomology case, meticulous ornithological drawings of birds and other such ephemera. Entitled ‘Aggregate’, this exhibition is part of a tour that began with the City Gallery, Leicester, before Artsway, New Forest, then the Talbot Rice, culminating at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. In touring these places Shovlin’s exhibition has intentionally grown, gathering personal artefacts along the way to expand his visual vocabulary.

Darwin’s book forms a central point of reference for Shovlin’s exhibition, being partially factual, partially theoretical, so how much of it should be accepted as the ultimate truth? Shovlin’s eclectic displays will aim to question and subvert such knowledge systems which aim to educate us, including museum and gallery classifications, deliberately giving drawings, photographs and displays misleading or unexpected titles and arranging them in unusual ways.

Along with the museum-style pieces, more personal works will be on show, including a film about Shovlin’s mother and her interest in completing jigsaws while birdwatching. As well as this, unplanned pieces will be on show, which have accumulated along the exhibition’s journey. Bringing together a wide range of sources and displaying them in unexpected ways forms the basis of the exhibition; previous exhibitions have laid out series of small works across the floor in colourful frames or cases or piled pieces up in stacks, so be ready for some unanticipated surprises.

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