Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists who invent humanlike, animal, or hybrid creatures to symbolize life's mysteries, desires, and fears. Finding inspiration in sources ranging from Aesop's Fables to the products of genetic experimentation, the artists in the exhibition examine interactions between nature and humanity in the context of oral and written lore, psychology, ethics, and visions of the future in both science and science fiction. The exhibition will include approximately 60 contemporary paintings, photographs, sculptures, and video works, including Yinka Shonibare, MBE's large-scale photograph 'The Sleep of Reason (America)', based on a similarly titled Goya print and shows owls and bats descending on a man asleep at his desk. The man, in typical Shonibare fashion, is clothed in a period costume made of brightly patterned fabrics suggestive of Africa.
This photograph is in the "monsters" section of the exhibition; in it, Shonibare references the hypocrisy of evils such as colonialism and slavery during the Enlightenment, the era from which the Goya print dates.
This exhibition is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and curated by Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala.
The exhibition runs from 24 February through 28 May 2012.
The exhibition will travel to Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, Canada: June 15-Sept. 9, 2012, and to the Glenbow Art Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Sept. 28-Jan. 2, 2013.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Vanderbilt University Press.
Yinka Shonibare, MBE at the Frist Centre for the Visual Arts, Tennesse, USA