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