Super Normal Stimulus

Super Normal Stimulus is part of The Artangel Collection. It was initially presented at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne before being exhibited at the Leeds Art Gallery in 2018 and Shetland Arts in 2019.

  • Artist: Andy Holden 
  • Title: Super Normal Stimulus
  • Date: 2017
  • Medium: digital print wallpaper
  • Dimensions: variable.  

The Holdens knowledgeably describe the mechanics and idiosyncrasies of bird behavior. We’re told of the devious cuckoo, whose first act as a newly hatched chick—from a nest usurped by its cunning mother—is to push out another bird’s eggs.— Grace Beaumont, Art Forum, October 2017  

Super Normal Stimulus is a digitally printed wallpaper featuring the repeated print of an open cuckoo mouth. The graphical diamond was adapted from an illustration found in a Victorian book depicting the gaping red gullet of a baby cuckoo. The cuckoo is unique amongst birds in hatching from a disguised egg in the nest of another bird. Further parasitising behaviour includes pushing other offspring out of the nest and receiving food from the adult host, whose offspring it has recently killed. The adult bird cannot resist responding to the supernormal stimulus of the yawning red gullet.  

Image: Andy Holden, Super Normal Stimulus, 2017 at Inverlieth House, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Photograph by Michael Wolchover


at Shetland Arts

Lerwick, 26 January – 10 March 2019

Andy Holden and Peter Holden's collaborative installation Natural Selection was presented at the Old Anderson High School site in Lerwick by Shetland Arts. 'Super Normal Stimulus' was installed in the former high school alongside 'Silent Spring' a series of turned wood sculptures and the photographic works 'Natural Selection I & II' 

Image: Installation view of Andy Holden, Super Normal Stimulus, 2017 at the Old Anderson High School in 2019. Photograph by Shetland Arts


at Leeds Art Gallery

08 June – 02 September 2018

'Super Normal Stimulus' was installed at Leeds Art Gallery the second venue of the UK tour of Natural Selection, a collaborative installation by Andy Holden and Peter Holden. The work was shown alongside 'Silent Spring' and accompanied by a collection of reading material selected by Andy Holden.

Image: Installation view of Andy Holden, Super Normal Stimulus, 2017 at Leeds Art Gallery in 2018. Photograph by Simon Warner

Previous Presentations

Since the launch of The Artangel Collection, Silent Spring has been installed at