Two new art installations open at the Natural History Museum today. Little Savages and the White Horse Museum are part of a contemporary arts programme that aims to stimulate dialogue between science and the arts.
Look out for an imaginary infestation of tiny fantastical fairy creatures invading the Museum's Central Hall.
Tessa Farmer got inspiration for Little Savages after spending a year researching the predatory behaviour of insects at the Museum. She worked with scientists from the Museum's Entomology Department, focussing on the parasitic wasp, which habitually invades and devours other creatures in order to survive and prosper.
The installation draws on Farmer's previous work involving animals engaged in ferocious battle. You can see bloodthirsty fairies, created with plant roots and insect wings, staging a gruesome attack on a fox, in the sculptural installation.
There are drawings on display echoing Farmer's experiences working in the scientific laboratories. They were created with the help of microscopes and examine the detritus left behind by the fairies.
A stop-motion animation, developed in collaboration with Sean Daniels, reveals a behind-the-scenes attack in the Museum's storage areas. Away from the public eye and the view of the scientists, a single fairy lures a longhorned beetle out from a cave and a gathering horde of fairies overcome their prey.
Tessa Farmer received an MA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford. She was selected for New Contemporaries in 2004, and has exhibited at firstsite, Colchester; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; and in Parabola's Repatriating the Ark at the Museum of Garden History, London. Her work will be shown at the new Saatchi Gallery in 2008 and the Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania in 2009.
Artist Tania Kovats' White Horse Museum is a museum in a horsebox, inspired by her research into the Uffington Horse, the prehistoric chalk drawing carved into the Oxfordshire hills.
The converted horsebox will be parked outside the main entrance of the Museum from Friday 5 until Sunday 7 October before leaving appropriately for Cheltenham racecourse.
The artefacts inside the White Horse Museum investigate our historic and ongoing fascination with the Uffington White Horse and with white horses more generally.
Tania Kovats is a British artist whose primarily sculptural practice is an exploration of landscape and how it is mediated. Since being appointed the Henry Moore Drawing Fellow in Bristol in 2004 she has become increasingly interested in drawing as an extension of her sculptural activities. In 2005 she published The Drawing Book. A survey of drawing: the primary means of expression.