Notes - The Wellcome Collection

Curation - presents a range of ideas about science and medicine since Henry Wellcome's death in 1936. It reflects the experiences and interests of scientists, doctors and patients. The exhibition focuses on four topics, which are the body, genomes, obesity and living with medical science. 

Exhibition Format - well organised, however there wasn't a path the we could follow so there's a chance that some visitors might miss one or two of the artworks/pieces. The room was basically in white and red. I think the choice of colour is great and suits the exhibition really well. Since the exhibition is about the human body, red represent blood or flesh, whereas white represents bones. I think it was a really nice touch. 

Audience Experience - challenges our ethics (experimentation of the human body, etc.). Some of the work were really controversial and shocking to see, making the audience think twice about what they are seeing. It's both an emotional and psychological/mental ride for the audience.

Content

The DesignJunction - Notes

Curation - showcases the very best in furniture, lighting, and product design from around the world, both from world-class brands to individual (small scale) designers. Visitors get a sense of both the commercial and creative areas of design.

Exhibition Format - divided up into sections and spread out into four floors. The basement was specifically for lighting (called "LightJunction"), the ground floor consists of pop-up shops, the first floor is dedicated to Ventura Projects which showcases 30 young designers, and the second floor highlights some of DesignJunction2014's biggest and most recognized brands. Navigation was very easy however there was just too many things to see, so by the time visitors get to the top floor it is very tiring both mentally and physically. 

Audience Experience - Amazement, curiousity, generally an interesting and exciting experience. 

Content

'Wellcome' to the Collection

Mixing chemicals together, cutting open animals, and confusing equations. This is how I've always viewed science and how it has been taught. That is until I went to the Wellcome Collection. Science and art combined harmoniously together? Sir Henry Wellcome, you are a genius. Who would've thought science could ever be taught like this. The Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life, and art in the past, present, and future. It aims to fulfill pharmaceutical entreprenuer, Sir Henry Wellcome's vision of creating "a place where people could learn more about the development of medicine through the ages and across cultures, and where you can consider what it means to be human."

Henry Wellcome was a compulsive collector of objects relating to the history of medicine. By the time of his death his collection of around 1.5 million items were spread out to Europe's most famous museums. He did a lot of projects outside of the work he did for his drug company and created exhibitions showcasing parts of his collection. As his projects grew throughout the years, he needed a place to present them together, so he bought a site on Euston Road (which is where the Wellcome Collection is now located) for this new building. Two of his research labs, two museums, and his library were moved into the building. After years of changes of its purpose and content, the Wellcome Building was transformed into a national venue, now known as the Wellcome Collection.

There were two exhibitions in the building when I went there. They were both quite small and didn't seem that grand, however I left both rooms with a smile on my face. I went up the stairs from the lobby, opened the door on my left, and entered a red and white coloured room. Since the exhibition is generally about the human body, I'd like to believe that the red represents our blood, whereas the white represents our bones, which I think is a really nice touch. This was "Medicine Now".

The first thing I saw when I entered the room was this huge, skin coloured blob with legs on it. I thought there was something wrong with my glasses, so I moved closer to it and found out what it really was; a huge, skin coloured blob with legs on it... The piece was created by John Isaacs to express his interest in "a representational possibility of the emotional landscape of the body becoming manifest in its surface". The sculpture is his take on the obesity epidemic that has been taking over the world. It tells the story of obesity from the patients' point of view, from an emotional aspect. It represents the feelings of those who suffer from obesity, and how these feelings have been defined by social ideals and expectations. The piece is an emotional landscape of the individual, visually representing what would happen if these emotions were to present themselves physically. The sculpture is simply amazing and very beautifully made with an immense amount of detail, taking an issue that is familiar to us and making it alien. 

After seeing some of the most intriguing and disturbing things I have ever seen in my life, I left Medicine Now and went to the next exhibition room; "An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition". This was a much more playful room with different coloured display stands, interactive pieces, and has a much more museum-like layout and theme. This exhibition was harder to navigate compared to the other one because there were just artworks and pieces everywhere; on the walls, on the floor, it was just too all over the place. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen everything in there yet. One piece that really caught my eye was a sculpture of a naked woman laying on the floor. What I love about this piece is that it's really organic and simple, yet it sends a powerful message that you won't recognise straight away. What makes it better is that the artist has thought about the material used to make the sculpture  to tell her story. It's made by Marc Quinn, and what he did was he cast the body of Silvia Petretti - who's HIV positive - in wax, using the drug that she is dependent on to support her life, 'Sustiva Tenofivir 3TC'. The result is a flawlessly sculpted piece, creating a powerful tension between the relative fragility of the body and its mortality. "When I look at the sculpture, I see a woman peacefully asleep, delicate, light, and mysterious. I see my body question assumptions of what someone diseased should look like. I hope it would be a reminder to a wider audience that people with HIV are just as human , and therefore as complex, as anybody. We are fully entitled to the right to be treated with love and justice, without shame or guilt." - Silvia Petretti

Both exhibitions have definitely exceeded my expectations. I judged a book by its cover; ordinary and just a bit to simple, but when I flipped open its pages and read, my mind was blown. All the pieces in the exhibition were very carefully selected, as an author would with the words that he writes. It didn't need hundreds of pages to tell the whole story. The Wellcome Collection has definitely been one of the most unique exhibitions I've ever visited. It's not your typical art gallery and takes you on a whole different journey. 

 

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