Beautiful Monsters: Portico Library Exhibition

The fantastical creatures illustrated in the 16th-century encyclopedia Historiae Animalium have influenced countless writers and scholars through the centuries, and form the starting point for The Portico Library’s next exhibition, Beautiful Monsters.

By Ben Brown | 24 April 2018

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The book’s author, Conrad Gessner, included actual and mythological animals side-by-side, including many labeled ‘monsters’, with no distinction between the real and the imaginary.

Six international exhibitors have responded to this and other volumes in The Portico Library’s collection with new works incorporating drawing, painting, textiles, robotics and artists’ books, considering where the idea of the monstrous sits within themes of history, mythology and 21st century life.

Visit after 6pm on Thursday 17th May to meet the artists and see a new specially commissioned live performance by Manchester drag artist Lill as part of Manchester After Hours 2018, a festival of late openings from museums, libraries and galleries across the city.

Lill will perform a new act, commissioned specially for this event and inspired by the 16th century text. Timings to be confirmed.

Beautiful Monsters was initiated by artist and curator Anya Charikov-Mickleburgh and also features artworks by Laura Dekker, Donal Moloney, Ed Saye, Evgenyi Strelkov and Dina Varpahovsky; plus text from Emma Marigliano, former Portico Library librarian and author of ‘Monsters, Myths & Magic: from Gilgamesh to Harry Potter’.

Beautiful Monsters: Exhibition Opening with Drag Performance
The Portico Library
Thursday 17th May, from 6pm
The event is FREE


The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HY
0161 236 6785