Howard Griffin Gallery London
The Bestiary was the first ever gallery exhibition of Phelgm, the internationally renowned muralist. A bestiary was an illustrated compendium of animals, half real and half imagined, setting out the natural history of each beast within and its moral significance. A bestiary was not a scientific text and while some beasts and descriptions were quite accurate, others were completely fanciful. Such bestiarys belonged to the ancient world and were popularised during the Middle Ages as didactic tools.
For The Bestiary, Phlegm created a modern bestiary within his own universe through an immersive and large scale installation in wood, clay and plaster which took the artist over six weeks to construct in situ at the gallery. Here Phlegm presented a taxonomic categorisation of his creatures and collected them in one place for the first time. Within the expansive sections of the installation, and working in bas and high relief, Phlegm displayed a series of works akin to the Lascaux cave paintings. Inspired by the bestiarys of old, these works contained untold fables and narratives. The exhibition lasted for seven weeks at the gallery and was afterwards destroyed by the artist.
The exhibition was preserved digitally in three dimensions by Google as part of the Google Cultural Institute. This record is available to experience here.
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