Artist and acclaimed jeweller, Julia deVille, will recast the Victorian-era Linden New Art as a stately home in its first exhibition after a lengthy renovation. Embellished with drapery and a sumptuous lick of paint, one might not be surprised to find that deVille’s well-known fantastical taxidermy creatures ornamented with precious stones will inhabit the space. Among a carousel zebra, a rocking fox and a handful of lion cubs, the focal work is a baby giraffe the artist spent years convincing Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum to vend to her.
One of the technical difficulties encountered in deVille’s obsessive quest for the giraffe was the size constraint of the freeze drier – the giraffe’s condition was too poor for taxidermy after 30 years in deep freeze. Though deVille had to position him supine to fit, she left his neck elongated – giving him the dignity his stature demands.
“My intention is to celebrate the life of the animal,” says deVille, “the fragility and the beauty.” Given the tactility of both taxidermy and jewellery, one would not expect to encounter holographic animals in some of the five and a half spaces at Linden. These will add yet another dimension of otherworldliness to the exhibition, immersing the viewer fully in the 19th -century-meets-the-Blade-Runner set.
DeVille has thrown herself into the “philosophical ideas behind Holographic universe theory” finding a mentor in New York who could walk her through setting up giant pulse lasers to create holographs in a size that no lab in the world is currently big enough to produce. DeVille has had the entire exhibition 3D scanned which is accessible online. It will also be possible to experience the genre-bending show via a VR headset available at Linden’s shop.