Nov 13 2011: Eight Images In Anticipation Of Klaus Weber From The Wonder Book Of Wonders (1930s)

Sorting through some papers in the Robert Holcombe archive revealed an odd correspondence between the random colour plates in a 1930s pictorial encyclopaedia called The Wonder Book Of Wonders and certain themes in Klaus Weber’s equally Cabinet of Curiosities-like exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, which features paintings made by bees, numerous versions of an iconic image of a Darwinian chimpanzee contemplating a skull, natural history footage by Jean Painleve and all kinds of taxidermy, skeltons, artefacts, artworks and other objects (a personal favourite is a birdcage from a former Sussex lunatic asylum). Perhaps any similarities ultimately stem from the fact that both the Wonder Book and Klaus Weber are really attempting to contain some sort of wholly representative collection of the world’s contents within the constricted spaces of a book and a gallery respectively: it’s equally possible, of course, that Weber simply grew up leafing through whatever the German equivalent of that Wonder Book was, and now finds its eccentric methodologies permanently etched into his thinking, consciously or otherwise.


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