Skip to Content

Current Exhibition

Beautiful Monsters

18th May – 30th June 2018

Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh, Laura Dekker, Donal Moloney, Ed Saye, Evgenyi Strelkov, Dina Varpahovsky

Beautiful Monsters exhibition poster, 18th May - 30th June 2018

The fantastical creatures illustrated in the 16th-century encyclopaedia Historiae Animalium have influenced countless writers and scholars through the centuries and form the starting point for The Portico Library’s 2018 exhibition, Beautiful Monsters. The book’s author, Conrad Gessner, included actual and mythological animals side-by-side, including many labelled ‘monsters’, with little distinction between the real and the imaginary. Six international exhibitors have responded to this and other volumes in the library’s collection with new works incorporating drawing, painting, textiles, robotics and artists’ books, considering where the idea of the monstrous sits within themes of history, mythology and 21st-century life.

Download the full exhibition booklet here, with new research from former Portico Librarian Emma Marigliano and contributions from the artists themselves: