Cabinet Of Curiosity

CompanyPaul Biddle Artist
PhotographerPaul Biddle
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

My latest series is about Cabinets of Curiosity and Rooms of Wonder and is about Man as avid collector and pillager of the Natural World to the detriment of that world, as symbolised by the Dodo. I have photographed many Natural History museum exhibits and locations or any interesting items that he finds on his travels and the idea of compositing them back in the studio seems appropriate as these Cabinets often contained fakes and Jennys (the fabulous creations constructed by combining parts of different creatures). The faded palette and worn textures that pervade these photographs underscore my references to personal and cultural histories and the passage of time. It is quite appropriate that I look to the Western tradition of the Wunderkammer as a source of inspiration. The fantastical subjects I create in the studio also possess strong art historical allusions, from Latin American Magical Realism and Colonial American folk art to the works of the Surrealists.

About Photographer

My inspiration and influences range from Renaissance art to Dadaism and Surrealism, from Picasso to the flotsam and jetsam that I pick up on my walks by the sea near my home. Having experimented with a wide variety of media during my time at art school, I found that photography was the thing that most excited me. The immediacy and the rather hazy line that can be created between reality and the feeling of not being quite sure what is happening is what I find appealing. I am drawn towards old stuff with a bit of patina and an air of decay and history. I like to make pictures that you feel the need to revisit and see something new, maybe half hidden in the shadows and as for meaning, my work implies stories, feelings and notions, leaving it to the viewer to make up their own. My latest series is about Cabinets of Curiosity and Rooms of Wonder. It’s about Man as avid collector and pillager of the Natural World to the detriment of that world, as symbolised by the Dodo. I have photographed many natural history and ethnographical museum exhibits and the idea of compositing them back in the studio seems appropriate as these Cabinets often contained fakes and Jennys (Jenny Hanivers, the fabulous creations constructed by combining parts of different creatures).