A bird in the hand

For new exhibition A Bird In the Hand, artist Renhui Zhao has created haunting photography and sculpture that explores the connection between humans and birds, told from the slightly unusual perspective of semi-fictional body The Institute of Critical Zoology.

By Renhui Zhao
By Renhui Zhao

Using the avian world as a metaphor for the environment as a whole, Zhao reveals the research of the fictional body to show the worrying development of the earth’s natural environments.

By Renhui Zhao
By Renhui Zhao

In practical terms the exhibition will include rare taxidermy birds from a species which have evolved to permanently close their eyes to protect them from the dust of drying landscapes, and The Institute’s own revolutionary ‘invisible’ birdwatching garments.

By Renhui Zhao
By Renhui Zhao

Zhao says, ‘In contemporary society birds are, perhaps, both the most watched and most edible animal on our planet. They have become a focal point of debates about a ’proper’ relationship between humankind and nature, and about definitions of humanity itself.’

By Renhui Zhao
By Renhui Zhao

A Bird in the Hand runs at Arts Gallery, University of the Arts London, 272 high Holborn, London WC1 from 14 July-3 September.

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