I wanted to visit some museums for my Frankenstein project to try and get some ideas and learn about the medical/scientific side of the story so I dragged my Mum to London and we went EVERYWHERE!!!
Firstly, I went to the British Library to look at the Folio Society’s exhibition on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and have a general look around the building. It was really interesting to see the different artistic interpretations of the poem and the original books and had given me some ideas on what I want to do for a uni competition based on the poem. I also looked around the Sir John Ritblat Gallery:Treasures of the British Library which was fascinating, especially the illuminated manuscripts- they were beautiful! If you have never been to the British Library it is just amazing and I recommend a visit! It reminded me of Ollivanders in Harry Potter, with books instead of wands from floor to ceiling!
Secondly, we waddled off down the road to The Wellcome Collection to look at the Medicine Man and Medicine Now exhibitions.I was particularly intrigued by the scientific instruments and the mummified corpse– it was in the foetal position which kind of suggest to me the idea of reincarnation; in death, the figure has returned to the original position of first life. I think this in particular will help generate ideas for the project!
I really liked the obesity scultpure by John Issacs called 'I Can't Help The Way I Feel'. Basically, it is this massive blob on legs and a clear message about the dangers of being overweight. When looking at it closely, you can see all the sores and poor circulation all the additional weight is causing to the legs (there was no head) and it is really quite thought- provoking. I'm definately putting a picture of it by the fridge!
There was also a slice of a complete body on display (it had been plasticised) by Gunther Von Hagens which did make me feel quite ill but it was really interesting to see all the little intricacies in the body. I’ve never seen anything like it before although I'm not sure I ever want to see it again either! Other peices that really interested me was 'Mosquito Coast', maps made from actual mosquitoes to represent malaria by Alastair Mackie and Michael Hopkins slate paintings of xrays- definately going to have a go at using slate and white ink one day as the effect is really stunning.
Thirdly, we went off to Holborn and to the Hunterian Museum, where there are lots of different animals, bugs and bits of the human anatomy preserved in formaldehyde (or something similar). They showed all sorts of different medical problems or how things worked such as how a chicken makes an egg. I was amazed by it all, it was just stunning to see and I kind of wished the collection was even bigger! It’s good that through museum collections such as this one, we can learn about medical science and more about how the human body works, using that to improve upon medical knowledge and help towards future medical breakthroughs.
Finally, we went to the National Gallery to look at the Eighteenth century paintings to try and get a sense of the gothic and sublime that the Romantic period was all about. I felt that the paintings by Turner and Constable represented those themes the best. I also saw Joseph Wright of Derby's, ‘An Experiment with a Bird In An Air Pump’ which we had looked at in a theory lesson and it was really good to see in real life! The use of light and shade in this painting is sublime and I didn't realise how big the painting actually was! I also saw Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' that are apparently changing colour! It is a shame but I guess flowers aren't supposed to last forever!
I think that this trip has definately helped give me ideas for the project so watch this space for some doodles soon!