Realm of Possibilities
Realm of Possibilities

Gallery of Wonder

February, 2010 Curation / installation

Newcastle University and the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

In 2010 Irene established the Gallery of Wonder (GoW) as a discussion point and exhibition facility for research into the evocation of wonder through visual display.


      “A certain kind of looking, the origins of which lie in the cult of the marvellous and hence in the artworks capacity to generate in the spectator surprise, delight and admiration….for it is one of the distinctive achievements of our culture to have fashioned this type of gaze, and one of the most intense pleasures it has to offer”.[i]

GoW has two cabinet-based exhibition venues in Newcastle, one in the Great North Museum: Hancock, the and the other set into two windows of Fine Art Department of Newcastle University overlooking the Quadrangle.  The physical framework of the two venues promotes the interdisciplinary nature of the project and encourages the questioning of the conventional relationships between art and science, gallery and museum.  

GoW has presented 30 individual exhibitions over two years.  A total of 36 contributors from across the UK have produced new work in response to the wonder research brief. The programme was curated from an Internet call to participate, inviting artists, scientists, writers and researchers to engage with and contribute to the project. The website provides a database, disseminating the outcomes and presenting images and texts for each project.  On June the 14th 2012 GoW held Working Wonder, a one-day international conference at Newcastle University. A publication based on the discussions and papers presented during the conference is due to be published in 2015.[ii]

The images presented here are of the exhibitions contributed by Irene herself. For the full gallery archive go to of

[i] Karp and Lavine, 1991, Exhibiting Cultures, CH3 Resonance and Wonder by Stephen Greenblatt., Smithsonian Institution Press.

[ii] A plethora of recent exhibitions underline the urgency of Wonder within contemporary visual art (MOMA Wunderkammer, 2008; Getty Institute Devices of Wonder, 2002, NGCA Wonders of the Visible World, 2012; Hayward Touring: Curiosity: Art and The Pleasures of Knowing, 2013).