Axel Straschnoy · The Permian Extinction · Turku Art Museum · Turku, Finland
The Permian Extinction results from a residency carried out by Axel Straschnoy in the Perm Regional Museum and its collections in 2018.
Straschnoy became interested in the paradoxical relationship between life and death at the museum and across geological periods.
Like many natural history museums, the one in Perm had previously presented dioramas depicting nature outside the museum through dead animals. However, when the museum took these down, the stuffed animals were stored in former office spaces, giving rise to unlikely and unnatural combinations of biotopes and predator-prey configurations. Today, many animals are endangered or extinct; they have stopped belonging to nature outside. Straschnoy has created a series of photographs portraying the animal in their new habitat: the museum storage.
One of the museum’s jewels is its entomological collection, focused mainly on forest insects. However, living insects threaten these, and the museum regularly exterminates living insects to preserve the dead ones. At Straschnoy’s request, the museum gathered the insects it eradicates into a separate new collection.
The exhibition in Turku Art Museum consists of lenticular images, photographs and a piece of volkonskoite, a green pigment derived from a clay-bearing sandstone, used by Russian painters and even Picasso. Volkonskoite formed in the Permian Period and is found only in the Perm region. A book accompanies the exhibition.