Extracts from press reviews:
Richard Dorment, Daily Telegraph, November 29, 2011:
Nothing is more viscerally moving than the mummy of a two-year-old boy who died of pneumonia during the Roman occupation around 80 AD. The intricately folded linen wrappings inset with gilded studs identify the child as a member of the Greek-speaking community whose funeral practices followed the Roman custom of insetting a painted portrait of the deceased on the surface of the mummy case. Because the deceased here was a child, there was no portrait, so contemporary artist Angelica Palmer has drawn images produced by recent cat-scans of the mummified corpse on to multiple sheets of glass to create a three dimensional representation of what lies underneath the linen wrapping. The result is a ghostly image of great beauty that seems to appear and disappear as you move across the glass panels.
Theresa Thompson, The Oxford Times, December 30, 2011:
But then, at the tail end of these displays of Egyptian antiquity, you come across an ultra-modern piece of sculpture. Oxford artist Angela Palmer’s recreation in glass of a child mummy — displayed alongside the mummy that inspired it — is an absolute scene-stealer.
Equal parts ghost and substance, the tiny collapsed frame of the little boy invoked on multiple panels of glass seems as you move around it to fade away and reform before your very eyes.
To see them lying there together is incredibly moving: the intricately bound mummy of a child who died almost 2,000 years ago when the Romans ruled Egypt, and a work of contemporary art that uniquely and respectfully commemorates him.
Not even the best audio visual screen could do a better job of making a mummy come ‘alive’. The ancient Egyptians devoted a lot of time and effort making sure the dead lived on.
Adrian Hamilton, The Independent, November 28, 2011:
The exhibition ends with the centuries of Greek and Roman domination after Alexander the Great’s conquest. The funerary practices and mummification remain, but the bodies now have wood portraits showing the real faces of the dead – Roman realism superimposed on Egyptian formalism. Beside them is the mummy of a small child and, beside it, a modern sculpture by Angela Palmer, based on CT scans of the two-year-old boy drawn on over 100 sheets of glass to give the full three-dimensional effect. Palmer, the artist who brought the giant Amazonian trees to Trafalgar Square in an installation, here uses contemporary technology to recreate the combination of the human and the eternal that makes Egyptian culture so special, as much today as it was then.
Nicol Dynes, Il Sole 24 Ore, November 23, 2011:
Among so many objects of great beauty and inestimable value, the most memorable is in the last room: the mummy of a boy who died aged two between 80 and 120 AC. Experts at University of Oxford have done over 2,500 scans of the little mummy to determine the conditions of the body, the boy’s state of health while alive and the cause of death (pneumonia). A British artist, Angela Palmer, has used the scans to create ink drawings on 111 glass plates which create an extraordinary and moving 3-D representation of the boy. A mix of archeology, science, technology and art which is totally unique and unforgettable. http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/cultura/2011-11-24/oxford-nuova-museo-dedicata-190731.shtml?uuid=Aa07kMOE
Michael Philo, Artlyst, November 24, 2011:
The galleries move in loosely chronological order, and contribute overall to the ‘Ancient World’ ground floor tour. Despite all the treasures on show, however, the jewel of the Egypt and Nubia gallery is actually a piece of contemporary art – Unwrapped: Story of a Child Mummy (along with its accompanying temporary exhibition in the Cast Gallery). Showcasing some of the latest techniques in medical science CT scanning, harnessed by someone with an inquisitive mind and great curatorial sensibilities, Unwrapped, by artist Angela Palmer, is every historian and sci-fi lover’s dream. The ethereal shape of a two year old child floats in 111 panels of glass, revealing the ‘internal architecture’ of the mummified body that lies next to it. The chance to glimpse upon something forbidden and sacred, a theme that has been set up throughout the rest of the galleries, really is a special moment to end a visit on.