Polly Morgan @ All Visual Arts

Polly Morgan first came to my attention with her entry ‘Resurrection’ in the big egg hunt. Morgan had suspended a young chick inside a clear egg, the chick hung from a balloon, which was in place of the yolk. She described this as being like a giant lung, lifting the body gracefully to heaven. Now Morgan, famed for her use of taxidermy within her art, is showing more of her work at All Visual Arts in her largest ever solo exhibition, Endless Plains.

The space is well tucked away from the main drag in Kings Cross and the unassuming gallery seems a fitting venue for Morgan’s work. The installation entitled ‘Endless Plains’ was inspired by a trip to the Serengeti and shows the natural life cycle. Inside are a range of carcasses, all of which died from natural causes, showing animals thriving off one another as prey and for food. Also included are beautiful drawings of nests, with birds hanging on top of the frames.

At first one may feel like they are in the Natural History Museum, but Morgan alters nature, with the addition of octopus tentacles and pigs feeding off sap from trees. While this is not a particularly large exhibition, the intimate staging of the work adds to the ambiance, with dim lighting and the staging of work on low plinths.

This exhibition is a unique and stunning look at an artist brave enough to do something different. Taxidermy is not often thought of as art, yet Morgan manages to bring it into the art world and make it relevant. She has brought life into an old practice, ironically, involving the dead, and shown us a different form of media, one which was completely unexpected. Whether taxidermy interests you or not, I thoroughly recommend that you give this exhibition a visit.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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