Tania Kovats (b. 1966, Brighton; lives Devon) has a
long-held fascination with Charles Darwin's work. In 2008 she
travelled South America with Darwin's journal The Voyage of the
Beagle as a guide. The following year she completed
TREE, a permanent large-scale installation for the Natural
History Museum, London, as homage to Darwin's formulation of the
theory of evolution. Also in 2009 she created the work
WORM in reference to Darwin's research into the importance
of small, slow and incremental change through the labour of humble
Kovats' works are primarily sculptural, with drawings as preparations, which are also works in their own right. Her thinking is that of an archaeologist and geologist as she studies natural environments and man-made landscapes.
The cycles of life and death as embodied in nature and evolution have provided Kovats with a new sculptural language following her Galápagos residency in December 2009. The proposal for the residency was to draw barnacles - Darwin wrote his doctoral thesis on these animals - and these have now become an ongoing piece of research for her.
Back in Devon, where Kovats currently lives, she found a roadkill badger. Her taxidermied form of this badger, an animal which is currently at the centre of contentious and emotive debates about its potential role in the transmission of bovine tuberculosis, provokes us to consider the collision between man and nature, and how we manage our countryside and for whose benefit. Taxidermy in itself is an art that essentially halts the decay of an organic form.