After Darwin Contemporary Expressions opens

26 June 2009

Do humans and animals share similarities in their expressions? Explore this intriguing topic in the new contemporary arts exhibition, After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, opening at the Natural History Museum today.

Leading artists and writers have been brought together for the first time to look beyond Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. 

They explore Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals and investigate today’s cultural perspectives on human-animal kinship and the study of emotional expressions.

Artists and writers

New and existing works on display are from Jeremy Deller and Matthew Killip in collaboration with Richard Wiseman, Diana Thater, award-winning author Mark Haddon and poet Ruth Padel alongside existing work by Bill Viola and Tina Gonsalves  


The gallery has been transformed into a highly choreographed architectural environment, created by the exhibition designers Carmody Groake. Its walls are brought to life with Thater’s huge gorillas video installation.

Spatial experiences

By constructing a sequence of geometric shapes that accommodate the individual artworks, the viewer is invited into a series of varying spatial experiences to make their own observations of emotional expressions and to create connections between the works on display. 

Some works also encourage the visitor to reconsider human relationships to nature, and in particular to our closest animal relatives, the great apes.

Part of Darwin200

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions is part of the Darwin200 celebrations, a nationwide series of events celebrating Darwin’s ideas and their impact around his 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

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Further information

  • Find out more and visit After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions