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All Visual Arts Presents "The Age of the Marvellous"

Category: ArtExhibitionsPress Release
Date:     18 September 2009
Time:     09:10 AM


The Age of the Marvellous
Former Holy Trinity Church
One Marylebone, London NW1 4GD
October 14th - 22nd, 2009

Following the success of Paul Fryer’s solo exhibition ‘Let There Be More Light’ which attracted over 
4,000 visitors during London Frieze Week in 2008, All Visual Arts (AVA) announces one of the most 
spectacular private Contemporary art exhibitions opening at the magnificent former Holy Trinity 
Church designed by Sir John Soane at One Marylebone in central London. 
Over a year in planning and production, The Age of the Marvellous (14th - 22nd October) was 
inspired by the Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities, popular in the late Renaissance through the 
Baroque period (ca. 1550– ca. 1700). An era characterized by a revival of learning, the sum of all of 
man’s knowledge could be represented in rooms filled with natural wonders, artificial exotica and 
relics or art works concerned with the supernatural.  
The Wunderkammer ‘s particular ability to evoke the marvellous, to incite the emotions of awe, 
wonder, surprise and astonishment leading to curiosity and then learning was based on its ability to 
draw parallels and unify seemingly unrelated fields of human knowledge like Science and Art. The 
brilliant evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson considered the unification of knowledge – or what he 
labeled ‘Consilience’ in his eponymous book published in 1998 - nothing short of imperative for the 
survival of the human species.  
The Age of the Marvellous features over 60 works of art, most of them especially produced for the 
exhibition, that display a new-found tendency for contemporary artists to look beyond the limitations of 
aesthetic conventions, to a varied, more cross-disciplinary approach that integrates areas of human 
knowledge  that exist outside the boundaries of traditional art making. 
Conceived and curated by All Visual Arts Director Joe La Placa, The Age of the Marvellous is the 
arts organization’s third major exhibition since it was launched in 2008. The show will coincide with 
Frieze Art Fair 2009 held in London’s Regents Park. 

A fully-illustrated catalogue will be produced subsequent to the show.

Location: One Marylebone, Osnaburgh Terrace, London NW1 4GD
Press call: October 14th 10am – noon
Private view: October 14th 6 – 10pm
Public exhibition: October 14th 12-6pm; October 15th-22nd 10am-7pm
For all press enquiries please contact


About All Visual Arts

All Visual Arts (AVA) is a new hybrid arts enterprise founded by art expert Joe La Placa and CEO of 
BlueCrest Capital Management Mike Platt in October 2008. AVA’s goal is to build a major collection 
of contemporary art by representing and commissioning new work by today’s most exciting 
international developing artists. 

About the artists’ works

Hilary Berseth’s Untitled 2 (Electrochemically Deposited Formation) work in copper explores growth 
in the inorganic medium of electroplating by placing a sculptural armature in copper-rich chemical 
solution to which various voltages are applied, creating quasi-organic growths. 

Nicola Bolla’s Vanitas skull with tube hat is made from thousands of intricately set Swarovski crystals 
that belie its message of impermanence.

Maria Novella Del Signore’s Quartet (Staying still along its way) uses rapid flashes of varying 
frequencies of light to capture the unpredictable patterns of falling water.

Adam Fuss’ oversized photograms record the concentric rings caused by water droplets in such 
detail, they seem more like the vibrations of atomic particles. 

Paul Fryer’s Venus and Mars is a dance in the form of an Orrery or Tellurian, a pair of orbiting 
celestial lovers whose paths never seem to meet. Fryer’s Pieta, a strikingly life-like black Christ in an 
electric chair and The Privilege of Dominion, a wax effigy of a primate nailed to the cross will certainly 
cause strong reactions for some, and may evoke sadness and compassion as well as outrage. 

Reece Jones uses a complicated process of application and erasure to create haunting, indefinable 
charcoal drawings. Building up fragile images and then mechanically erasing  the visual information 
using glass paper - creating a ‘ghost’ of the original. The process is repeated multiple times and what 
results is a dense, shimmering tonal field, interspersed with elaborate and delicate moments of 
insistent detail. In ‘Within and Beyond’ a remote mountain terrain is punctuated by startling vertical 
bands of bright light.

The massive Picasso-inspired drawings of Wolfe von Lenkiewicz use recombinant methods of 
appropriation to create his trademark hybrids. His first major bronze sculpture St Eustace, a head of 
a stag trepanned of the top of its skull by a jet airliner is a complex work alluding to the Roman 
general who saw a vision of Christ as a stag and to the plane crash of 9/11. 

Mimetes Anon by Alastair Mackie is a life-sized, meticulously cast bronze chimpanzee with a photo-
realistically painted surface sitting on a stone column as if from a scene in an apocalyptic science 
fiction movie, an icon of what might have been if the great evolutionary leap forward never happened. 
Mackie’s House is an exact replica of a wooden dolls’ house made of approximately 300 pulped 
paper wasp and hornet nests. 

The Architect's House is one of seven paintings by Jonathan Wateridge that depict scenes from the 
narrative and production of an imaginary American film centred on an undisclosed catastrophic 
event. Set in a modernist house overlooking Los Angeles the painting explores its own status as a 
fictional construct. The macabre scene of an architect found slumped in his chair, with a bullet hole 
through his eye and being photographed by a forensic officer is immediately disrupted on seeing that 
this is a film set and therefore a staged moment. Secondly, this cinematic drama is further undercut 
by the uncanniness of the corpse ‘corpsing’. 

Kate MccGwire will feature a new series of sculptural works made out of crow and jackdaw feathers. 
The process of 'collecting and re-using' that characterizes her working methods have been taken to 
the extreme in this series, which uses thousands of feathers sent in by game keepers from all over 
the UK.

At the Beginning by Polly Morgan is inspired by a Victorian proposal for a flying machine. The 
inventor envisaged a carriage, drawn in the air by birds that are harnessed and steered by their 
passenger, as being a practical solution to the human need to explore. The work reveals a 
conundrum. The machine enables the traveler to fly but enslaves the birds; the birds liberate the 
traveler but imprison him in a cage.

The Levitation of the Head of John the Baptist by Martin Sexton is a small, life-like head of John the 
Baptist which seems to levitate in a reliquary by an invisible force, without physical contact. 

Helix, the sole outdoor sculpture by New York based Alyson Shotz, is based on the strict 
mathematical phenomena of rotation around a central point which frequently occurs in nature in the 
shape of galaxies, sunflowers, and shells. Over 16ft high, aluminum bars rotate around a central axis 
in stepped increments of size and position. Like the wing of a butterfly, the laminated surface of Helix 
is unapologetically beautiful, reflecting the surrounding environment, light and colors of the spectrum, 
depending on the viewer’s angle and position in space or the time of day.

Ben Tyers’ Breathe is a sculpture which draws attention to what is an otherwise largely unconscious 
process - breathing. The work is intended to bring the breath of the observer into conscious 
awareness and promote a relaxing form of introspection and mindfulness. At a subconscious level, 
the piece promotes synchronization with this deep and balanced rhythm.  

One of a series of twelve, Keith Tyson’s Contemporary Grotesque Sculpture – Mastering is a witty 
allusion to man’s ritualistic attempts to dominate nature. Cast in polycarbonate with a graphite patina, 
materials that are fundamental both to organic life (carbon) and artistic production (graphite), a 
sensual Japanese woman in formal dress rides a lumbering walrus. 

In Tornado, Hugo Wilson has captured a twister in a tall glass and lacquer cabinet. But even with all 
the control parameters put in place and contained, the resulting vortex will never be the same twice. 
Interested in creating physical remnants of intangible emotional situations, Parabiosis is the natural 
and surgical union of the anatomical parts of two organisms, in this case the negative spaces of 
linked cardiovascular systems of two hearts which have been cast in resin. 

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