I love the Natural History Museum, and its proximity to school was a key selling point to my six year old. The added bonus that of “entry by contribution” also makes it ideal for after school drop in visits, verses a need to eek out every possible minute of value for a tariffed entry.
The posters for Color & Vision: Through the Eyes of Nature caught my eye immediately. A life time of interest in graphic design, the concept of color and vision was also of direct interest (my Communication Design college module on visual perception had been a favourite). So on our third visit to the museum – within four weeks of being in London- and with an interior design friend, we decided to buy the special exhibit ticket to go and learn about Color&Vision.
Our Spectral Vision, a rainbow-esque light installation created by British artist Liz West consisted of vertical prism-shaped light panels that mixed the colour and light as you walked in to the exhibition where a fabulous display of preserved eyeball from virtually every kind of animal you could name, greeted you.
There followed several rooms of taxidermic animals displaying their (somewhat subdued and faded) glorious colors of plumage, fur or shell. The exhibition boasts the featuring of “more than 350 rarely seen specimens..”
There was some information exploring how different animals see the world with interactive experiences – spot the camouflaged crab- along with exposure as to how the entwined histories of colour and vision have filled the natural world.
I felt left a little wanting after this show. There is so much more that could have been explored, demonstrated, and made interactive. Colour in nature is a huge influence for art, design and innovation (I would argue with anyone who thought otherwise.) My friend did remind me that we were in The Natural History Museum, which may have been why they stuck so closely to the eyeballs and the taxidermy!