Ricardo Brey’s encyclopedic installation Universe (2002—2006) consists of 1,004 drawings made between 2002 and 2003 displayed in 99 glass vitrines. In a 2013 interview, Brey reflected on the work, stating, “I wasn’t creating the universe, just my universe, with all my anxieties, my dreams, my leitmotifs. All the techniques I’ve used, and even some I invented at the time, were in the drawings. I told myself, I’m almost at drawing seven hundred, and the human figure had not appeared. I realized that the humans would be excluded. Nor did I include cows, donkeys, or houses. It was like the stone of Sisyphus, you push it up and it comes down again, and on in an unproductive effort. Really, it was a universe within the ‘Universe,’ contained in 99 glass vitrines.” Presented for the first time at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Ghent, Belgium in 2006, the piece not only represents a visual encyclopedia of flora and fauna—the images are divided into categories like fish, birds, plants, floods, insects, and the moon—but also reads as a compendium of the artist’s techniques, featuring drawings, paintings, and assemblages. At once a highly personal and idiosyncratic work—as Brey summarizes, “my universe … my anxieties, my dreams, my leitmotifs”—Universe unfolds through its sheer scale and scientific presentation into a larger reflection on evolution, time, and the limits of knowledge, the impossibility of classifying the unwieldy totality of reality.