Tania Kovats – UnNatural History Commissions

hiber nation 20/21

Tania Kovats (born 1966, based in Devon, UK) in collaboration with Benjamin Wigley (born 1979, based in Nottingham, UK)

hiber nation 20/21, 2020-21

Digital film, 9 min 28 sec. Courtesy of the artists and Parafin Gallery, London

In this newly commissioned work for ‘UnNatural History’, made in collaboration with Benjamin Wigley, Tania Kovats investigates her understanding of a personal natural history collection. She features items from her own ‘collection’ that have taken on a new resonance during a lockdown winter under the shadow of Covid-19: ‘It is winter, the world feels shut, locked down into the dark; a time when everything withdraws, retreats, goes underground, to better survive and endure these harsh frozen months. I spend more time inside, in a hibernation, sleeping more, turning over the things around me that are here on the inside with me.’

‘hiber nation’ was commissioned by Invisible Dust for UnNatural History at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021. Publicly funded by Coventry City Council, the Wellcome Trust and National Lottery Funded by Arts Council England.

Badger, 2021

In her new works created for this exhibition in response to the Herbert’s Natural Science collection, Tania Kovats’ taxidermied roadkill animals invite us to consider our cultural attitudes and responses to death and extinction. Taxidermy has historically been used in natural history collections to preserve and present animals and birds, which often come from other parts of the world and are seen as rare or exotic. The animals are usually portrayed in a lifelike state for the purpose of study or triumphant celebration. By contrast, Kovats has preserved animals that are common in Britain, and they have been stuffed in the positions in which they were found by the side of the road.

‘Badger 20/21’ was commissioned by Invisible Dust for UnNatural History at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021. Publicly funded by Coventry City Council, the Wellcome Trust and National Lottery Funded by Arts Council England.

Crow, 2021

In her new works for this exhibition in response to the Herbert’s Natural Science collection, Tania Kovats’ taxidermied roadkill animals invite us to consider our cultural attitudes and responses to death and extinction. Taxidermy has historically been used in natural history collections to preserve and present animals and birds, which often come from other parts of the world and are seen as rare or exotic. The animals are usually portrayed in a lifelike state for the purpose of study or triumphant celebration. By contrast, Kovats has preserved animals that are common in Britain, and they have been stuffed in the positions in which they were found by the side of the road.

The space between 8 and 18

The display case includes school shoes worn by her son between the ages of eight and eighteen, emphasising the passage of time. Displayed as a series they recall a collection of butterfly specimens.

‘The space between 8 and 18′ was commissioned by Invisible Dust for UnNatural History at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021. Publicly funded by Coventry City Council, the Wellcome Trust and National Lottery Funded by Arts Council England.

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