Tim Lewis, Crimson Prince, 2018
Step into Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum, a world which reimagines the spectacular automata exhibitions of the 18th century and invites us to explore the boundaries of what is lifelike and what is alive, where artists, inventors and engineers collide.
Automata have always been fascinating to us. Throughout history they have represented the human condition and allowed us to view ourselves and raise questions about our existence. They have also entertained and amazed us with spectacular musical performances and simulations of life. (The Marvellous Mechanical Museum coincides with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, who is believed to have seen the famous 18th century automata of Pierre Jaquet-Droz before bringing her own creation to life).
This exhibition will include early and rare automata and clockwork dating back to the 17th century from collections such as The British Museum, V&A and Royal Collection alongside new commissions by contemporary artists exploring our current and often complex relationship with technology. From a miniature Faberge moving elephant to the uncanny Crimson Prince by kinetic artist Tim Lewis, the exhibition also includes work by Sarah Angliss & Caroline Radcliffe, Ting Tong Chang, James Cox, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, Jane Edden, Rowland Emett, Ron Fuller, Fi Henshall, Rebecca Horn, Tim Hunkin, Peter Markey, John Joseph Merlin, Keith Newstead, Stuart Patience, Henry Phalibois, Harrison Pearce, Rodney Peppe, Sam Smith and Paul Spooner.