Amazonia Collection: Aepyornis, Gallimimus, Allosaurus, Pelaeomastodon
Lucy + Jorge Orta, 2009-2010
- Ref: 5504
- Materials: 4 Royal Limoges porcelain fossil casts, enamel drawings, wood, lacquered glass
- Dimensions: Table plinth: 100 x 100 x 110cm
- Exhibition history: 2010 Natural History Museum London
- Courtesy: Courtesy of the Artists
- Concept: The porcelain fragments of life are tender and precious, recording the wonders of shapes and forms of bygone
times and the present. They are casts from specimens in the Natural History Museum collection: the egg from the elephant bird Aepyornis, the limb bones from dinosaurs Gallimimus and Allosaurus and the elephant ancestor Palaeomastodon. Bones are memento mori, reminders of death. But the egg is birth, the start of life.
The flowers, butterflies and insects that populate these works point to the cycle of life and the beauty and wealth of our planet, fragile specimens that simply disappear before being discovered or so tiny to go unnoticed. The motifs are drawings conducted by the artists on their return from the Amazon based on actual species they encountered and on further research they conducted over the following year.
The act of drawing can be seen as the activity of life itself. There is an underlying melancholy of the end of time, and the hot breath of extinction. Seeing ourselves as occupying a moment in time, through the reflection of the mirrored surface of the plinths, makes us question our arrogance over nature and the need to work with it rather than against it.