Cabinets of Curiosities in France and Hong Kong

Revealing fascinating and strange treasures which were once collected in “actual cabinets or small studies in which rulers and wealthy owners stored both precious religious, royal and valuable items as well as unusual specimens from the natural world”, The Cabinets of Curiosities, an exhibition by CityU Exhibition Gallery and Le French May Arts Festival, will be taking place from May 25th to August 19th, 2018.

Showcasing artefacts and specimens brought back to Europe during the 16th to the 18th century from ocean expeditions to Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania, these items not only express a rare sense of beauty but also the “cultures, ethnicities, wildlife and plants thousands of miles away”. Referred by their previous owners as “curios”, the curios-filled cabinets were like mini-universes that investigated in both serious scholarly and scientific objects, including plants and animal specimens.

This exhibition will include over 250 natural and artificial artefacts from 10 museums, galleries and private collections, and is broken down into five main sections including (i) Cabinets of Curiosities – a Brief History; (ii) Maritime Expeditions and the Collecting of Exotica; (iii) The Musée du Vivant – AgroParisTech: From Amateur Collections to Discoveries in the Natural Sciences; (iv) The Maison Deyrolle Cabinet of Curiosities: Nature Art Education and (v) Cabinets of Curiosities and Contemporary art. The collections have not only formed the basis for contemporary social and natural science studies, but they also go hand-in-hand with the study of arts and nature, allowing us to take a fascinating and visual journey back to the past.


25 May – 19 August 2018
10am – 7pm (closed on Mondays)
CityU Exhibition Gallery, 18/F, Lau Ming Wai Academic Building, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon

Image above: Entomology Box with Various Beetles Photograph by Marc Dantan, 1974 Collection of La Maison Deyrolle

Image below: Entomology Box, Criocephalus rusticus (Long-Horn Beetle), 1934 Wood, insects, glass, 38.6 x 6 cm Musée du Vivant-AgroParisTech Collection// Arthur-Henri Boisgontier, Rubiaceae Family (coffee), 1890 Aquarelle, gouache on paper, 231.5 x 123 cm Musée du Vivant-AgroParisTech Collection// Jean-Loup Champion, Fish Skeleton, 2012 Fish skeleton, mixed media, white paint, 29 x 43.2 x 14.6 cm// ight-panel Blue and White Yuhuchun Jar, Floral designs, Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) Porcelain, H. 25.5 cm University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong// Nils-Udo, The Nest, 1978 Photograph of 1978 installation, 125 X 125 cm Pierre-Alain Challier Gallery// Impact 14, Jean Luc Maniuloux


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