Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing

Past exhibition
Hayward Gallery Touring

Installation View of Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing Exhibition
Installation view, Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing, Turner Contemporary 23 May – 15 September 2013. Photo Steve White / Courtesy Hayward Touring.

This group exhibition brings together curious historical artefacts and contemporary art

Curiosity is an ambiguous passion: the virtuous impulse behind the search for knowledge and at the same time a disreputable desire for novelty and strangeness. 

This exhibition, organised in collaboration with Turner Contemporary and Cabinet Magazine, was curated by Brian Dillon. It examined contemporary art's return to the intellectual and aesthetic freedom that emerged in seventeenth century art and science. 

Taking the cabinet of curiosities as its founding motif and through a combination of contemporary art and historical artefacts, Curiosity explored the pleasure that comes from the search for the wondrous and bizarre.

Included in the exhibition at Turner Contemporary was Katie Paterson's 'Campo del Cielo / Field of the Sky' – a meteorite that was melted down and recast as a replica of itself. This was later returned to space in a live event streamed on the European Space Agency's website. Paterson made a short film from the resulting footage.

Featured artists

Artists include: Agency, Salvatore Arancio, Anna Atkins, Sir Joseph Banks, Leopold Blaschka and Rudolph Blaschka, Corinne May Botz, Pablo Bronstein, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Gerard Byrne, Collection of Roger Caillois, Nina Canell, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Tacita Dean, John Dee, Albrecht Durer, Jimmie Durham, Gunda Forster, Aurelien Froment, Galileo Galilei, Philip Henry Gosse, Laurent Grasso, Thomas Grunfeld, Susan Hiller, Robert Hooke, Ferrante Imperato, Toril Johannessen, Nina Katchadourian, Elad Lassry, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaes Maes, Jeremy Millar, Matt Mullican, Jean Painleve, Katie Paterson, B. Picart, after Charles Le Brun, Francis Place, Aura Satz, Miroslav Tichy, J.M.W. Turner, Richard Wentworth

Curator Brian Dillon is a writer and critic, and UK editor of Cabinet magazine.

Exhibition venues

This exhibition toured to the following venues:

  • Turner Contemporary, Margate
  • Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich
  • Art Gallery, Newlyn & The Exchange, Penzance
Touring exhibitions

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