For this exhibition, Aaron Angell has created an interior that mines various historical points and hobbyist cultures partly in response to the complex history of GoMA’s site as a former private residence, garden and Neoclassical fancy.
At the exhibition’s centre is Glasgow Museums’ notable Wardian Case. Victorian fern cases such as this one protected rare and tender plants imported to Britain from overseas. Displayed for the first time in nearly forty years, and restored especially for the exhibition, the case has been fully planted with ferns and mosses as it would have been in the nineteenth century.
Alongside are new artworks each suggesting potential areas or ‘stations’ within the archetypal setting of an open plan loft-apartment, including a piece of inflatable furniture with a mock hypocaust heating system, and a working gas lamp.
Works in media familiar to the artist are also present. A reverse-painted work on glass takes its composition from an 11th-century depiction of the purgatorial ladder, and ceramic sculptures feature the profile of Roman cineraria; lidded cinerary urns often destined for the remains of a married couple.
In a continuation of the artist’s interest in ideas of scale, hobbyist aesthetics, and poetic thought, a giant flatpol cabbage is displayed as a sculpture. The cabbage and cased plants will continue to grow, suggesting the exhibition as a living extension of Angell’s practice.
GoMA would like to thank the Friends of Glasgow Museums for supporting the conservation of the Wardian Case.
The artist and Glasgow Museums would like to thank Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and Dr Mary Gibby for their assistance and advice in regards to the planting of the Wardian Case.