The exhibition "Natural History Museum" sets up a simulated nature museum inside the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, in lieu of the absence of a national natural history museum in Israel. The featured works were created especially for the exhibition, the product of a two-year work process during which the artists carried out research and observations, accompanied by dialogue with scientists, zoologists, curators of natural history collections, entomologists, paleontologists, and taxidermists.
The exhibition borrows visual patterns and images from the natural history museum, "shifting" them into the world of art. Dimensions of reality are distorted via a change of material, scale, color, form, or medium: a mythological skeleton made of plastic chairs, a plasticine dinosaur, embryos knitted in wool, and a virtual whale. The totality of the works come together to form a mega-installation of sorts, in which each work represents and symbolizes a wing or a theme in the original natural history museum.
The exhibition strives to focus our attention on ecological concerns such as biodiversity, animal extinction, invasive species, the destruction of planet Earth, and man's appropriation of nature. It examines the affinities between art and science, offering a commentarial, critical reference to the classical natural history museums in the United States and Europe, the majority of which were constructed in the colonial period. At the same time, the show addresses basic notions and dichotomies such as genuine and artificial, living and dead, positive and negative, the replicated and the preserved, the reconstructed and the duplicated.
Hilla Ben Ari, Yossi Ben Shoshan, Sidney Corcos, Avital Geva, Nechama Golan, Meirav Heiman, Shachar Kislev, Assi Meshullam, Uriel Miron, Roy Mordechay, Michal Rovner, Deganit Stern Schocken, Talya Tokatly, Itamar Yakhin, Zik Group.