Michael Wang: Extinct in the Wild at Fondazione Prada, February 9 – April 9, 2017

“Extinct in the Wild, conceived and curated by American artist Michael Wang (1981), brings together flora and fauna that are no longer found in nature, but persist exclusively under human care, within an artificial habitat. Labelled with the officially designated term ‘extinct in the wild’, these species have left nature behind to fully enter the circuits of human culture. In this project, natural beings such as plants and animals are transplanted into an exhibition and cultural space. In the age of extinction, such displacements are not only aesthetic devices but stand for actual strategies of survival.

Michael Wang conceived an exhibition in which three glass and aluminum enclosures with artificial lights accomodate these extinct species within the space of the Nord gallery. The exhibition is completed by a series of 20 photographs, taken by Michael Wang from 2014 to the present day, which portray different extinct in the wild species and the original habitats where they lived prior to their extinction in nature.” — Fondazione Prada

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Michael Wang, Barranco Tamadaya, Tenerife, Spain, 2015 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Parrot’s beak (Lotus berthelotii), Iglesia de San Pedro, Tenerife, Spain, 2015 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Parrot’s beak (Lotus berthelotii), Iglesia de San Pedro, Tenerife, Spain, 2015 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Yangjiagou, Dalou Mountains, Chongqing Municipality, China, 2016 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Tianfu New Area, Chengdu, China, 2016 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016 Courtesy the artist

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Michael Wang, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016 Courtesy the artist

For the duration of the show,  exhibition staff will tend to these living organisms, joining the ranks of gardeners, zookeepers, scientists and hobbyists who are the species’ only lifeline.The curators become caretakers , returning the practice of curation to its ancient roots in cura, meaning “care.”

Images courtesy Fondazione Prada.