Mushrooms: Curator Talk

Fri 31 Jan 2020
19.00 - 20.30
£10.00 / £8.00 conc
Screening Room
South Wing

Exhibition Curator Francesca Gavin talks with exhibiting artist Jae Rhim Lee about her Infinity Burial Suit, the exhibition and the cultural renaissance of the mushroom.

To celebrate the opening of Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi curator Francesca Gavin discuss the inspiration behind the exhibition, the curatorial journey and highlights the themes of the show.

Francesca will be joined by Jae Rhim Lee, whose Infinity Burial Suit (displayed in the exhibition) offers challenges the ecological impact of human consumption in her reimagining of the funeral industry. The suit, lined with mycelium to aid decomposition and the integration of the human body into the ground after death, invites visitors to consider their impact on the environment after death.

Also joining the discussion is Laurence Owen, whose sculptural ceramic pieces feature in the show joins the panel and will discuss the weird and wonderful ways mushrooms have inspired his artistic practice. 

The talk will explore the contemporary reassessment of the mushroom, advancements in mycelium as a sustainable material and as a metaphor for our entangled existence. With fungus predating humans by over a billion years and predicted to survive the next climate catastrophe, enjoy a conversation on the humble mushroom, and its cultural impact on our brief time on earth.

The talks programme is generously supported by the Gaia Art Foundation.

Gaia Art Foundation

About the speakers

Francesca Gavin is a curator and writer based in London. She is an editor-at-large at Kaleidoscope, Art Editor of Twin and contributing editor at Good Trouble, Beauty Papers and She was the co-curator of the Historical Exhibition of Manifesta11 and has curated exhibitions internationally including at the Palais de Tokyo, Site Sheffield and Mu. Gavin has written six books including Watch This Space, The Book of Hearts, 100 New Artists and Hell Bound: New Gothic Art, and contributes to numerous publications including The Financial Times, Dazed, wallpaper*, Mousse, AnOther and Newsweek. She has a monthly radio show Rough Version on NTS Radio on art and music.

Jae Rhim Lee is an award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and transdisciplinary artist whose living units and wearables reimagine basic life systems and propose alternative and occasionally transgressive relationships between the body and the built and natural environment. She is Director of Graduate Studies and Faculty Advisor; Assistant Professor,Interaction Design Program at Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. She is the inventor of the Infinity Burial Suit (aka Mushroom Death Suit) featured in National Geographic, Vogue, NPR, Wired, the New York Times, and TED, among others. She lectures and exhibits her work internationally and has taught at MIT and Stanford University. She is the Founder and CEO of venture-backed startup Coeio, Inc. and holds degrees from MIT and Wellesley College.

Laurence Owen is a multidisciplinary artist whose work often questions ideas of territory, hierarchy, and border through the preordained categorization of material and the diverse functional roles assigned to certain matter. By hybridizing disparate materials and aesthetics in his work, which he accumulates from architecture, craft, construction etc., Owen develops wall-based sculptural forms, which are, in themselves suggestive of eradicating the borders and hierarchies between these various domains.