Polly Morgan

More (dead) birds

To Haunch of Venison to see Polly Morgan’s show, Psychopomps. This piece is called Systemic Inflammation, and features taxidermy finches apparently flying free of their cage, although the cage resembles more a torturer’s rack, and the tiny finches might be anchored to it as much as attempting to raise it. The work is delicate, beautiful, but is also very definitely about the decay of things; the rusted cage, the lifeless birds, their shadows projected against the gallery wall. Psychopomps are mythical soul-conductors, escorts to the after-life, and often take animal forms, but Morgan’s work makes me think of this world rather than the next, and our human fragility.


On with Joana Vasconcelos, whose work is also about ‘fixing’ the living in time and space, often in crochetwork that resembles a demented spider’s web. Her crochet-wrapped piano is brilliant: stranded in silence, marooned in the middle of a grandiose drawing-room.