I visited Margate last weekend (you can read about my experience here) and I had the pleasure of going to the Turner Contemporary, a museum I had never been to before, but had heard wonderful things about, especially from the proud locals. So instead of squeezing in a little paragraph about the current exhibition, ‘Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing’, I decided it deserved a post all of its own.
Situated practically in the sea itself, the Turner Contemporary is in the perfect location for a modern and interesting museum of art. The whole building has turned into a strange cabinet of wonder, mystery and fantasy, where the observers become part of the observed, wandering around the cabinet in search for answers and a lot of fun. Art mixes playfully with science, producing an experience which ‘refuses to choose between knowledge and pleasure’.
One of my favourite pieces was the ostentatious and slightly grotesque stuffed ‘Horniman Walrus’, brought from the Horniman museum, South London to the Turner Contemporary for a new life on the Kent seafront.
Another favourite was the fantastic illustrations of Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), who spent many years writing over 40 books on nature and especially aquatic life. The drawings were so intricate colourful, and amazingly life-like. He specialised in writing about the history of corals and sean anemones in his later life. I sneakily took a few photos of some of my favourites, which look to me like wonderfully beautiful aliens!