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Italian artist Salvatore Arancio selects from and responds to Dutch art collector George Loudon's extraordinary collection of scientific objects.

On encountering an exquisitely rendered glass jellyfish and other invertebrates by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the Natural History Museum at Harvard University in 1998, George Loudon began collecting 19th-century scientific teaching models and illustrations.

The collection now contains over 200 objects, crafted from unexpected materials including lost-wax casts, minerals, velvet, ivory and glass and extends to strikingly illustrated books, prints, drawings and anatomical specimens from taxidermied animals to bisected human skulls and papier-mâché flowers.

Salvatore Arancio is renowned for his fantastical prints and ceramics that erupt in vividly chromatic biomorphic forms. He has devised a surreal scenography filled with sound, light and his own ceramic sculptures. They are juxtaposed with scientific objects to create startling hybrids and poetic narratives including a 19th-century treatise on the shape and colour of human souls.

Inner and outer worlds are brought together in an installation that illuminates a rare collection devoted to exploring and understanding the mysteries of nature and existence through scientific enquiry.

Whitechapel Gallery

77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, Greater London, E1 7QX

020 7522 7888


Opening times

Tue – Sun, 11am – 6pm (Thu until 9pm)

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Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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