The Permian Projects

June 13 - September 8, 2023

IPERCUBO is pleased to present The Permian Projects, a solo exhibition by Axel Straschnoy.

The exhibition consists of two research projects, The Permian Collection and The Dioramas from the Perm Regional Museum are the result of a residency program at the Perm Regional Museum in Perm, Russia, in which the artist was invited to participate in 2018, and are now presented at IPERCUBO, after being shown for the first time at Turku Art Museum in 2021.
Taking the Museum’s natural history collection as a point of departure—a collection that ranges from paleontology, geology, botany, zoology, and entomology— Straschnoy’s intervention reflects, and invites the viewer to do so too, on the Permian Mass Extinction and, more broadly, on the complex yet topical issue of the Anthropocene. The Dioramas from the Perm Regional Museum consists in a series of lenticular, three-dimensional photographs showcasing some of the taxidermised animals of the Museum’s collection, now in storage.

Dioramas usually represent the animals in their natural habitats, most of which no longer exist because of extinction. As the dioramas were dismantled, different storage rooms and offices have now become the animals’ natural biome. Despite focusing on nature, the museum fails to acknowledge the presence of living beings within its premises, some of which may contradict its mission.

The second project, The Permian Collection, was inspired by the extermination of live insects twice a year that the Perm Museum operates to protect the dead insects in its entomological collection. At Straschnoy’s request, the Museum has now started collecting the dead insects and has created a new collection called the Perm Regional Museum’s Insect Collection. These insects have been archived and catalogued like the other collections in the museum. Straschnoy has taken portraits of each of the insects producing a series of prints, part of which can be seen in the exhibition, and a book.

As Yulia Glazryna, Head of the Natural History Department of the Perm Regional Museum, put it in her text for the book that accompanies the exhibition: “I believe that this could also establish a global precedent: creating a new collection of insects without leaving the museum’s building. Axel’s idea of assembling the ‘victims’ of the museum’s pest extermination program within the walls of the museum itself may seem somewhat odd and even questionable: is it really acceptable for ‘surplus’ insects to reside in the collection? But the idea also presents the museum with very important questions. For example, are we really aware of our ‘neighbors’ and, in a more general sense, is it possible for anything on this planet to be ‘absolutely sterile’ (with the exception of the Large Hadron Collider, of course)? Where does the museum set the boundary between life and death, and what does it value: insects as display items or insects as living things? And what does it mean to organize today’s world within the conditions of an urban ecosystem?

We are eternally grateful to Axel for challenging us to consider these issues, and in doing so to conceive of new doorways and paths for the future.”

Installation views

The Permian Projects. Installation view at IPERCUBO, June 2023.
The Permian Projects. Installation view at IPERCUBO, June 2023.
The Permian Projects. Installation view at IPERCUBO, June 2023.
The Permian Projects. Installation view at IPERCUBO, June 2023.
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #4
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #8
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #1
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #7
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #2
The Dioramas from the Permian Museum #3
The Permian Collection #9, Anthrenus museorum.
The Permian Collection #28, Calliphoridae, падальные мухи.
The Permian Collection #12, Coccinella bipunctata, Божья.

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