Monday, 9 November 2015

Wellcome Collection

Originally setting off to explore the new Ann Veronica Janssens installation yellowbluepink, being hosted in the same building and running 15 October 2015 - 3 January 2016, but ultimately aborting in order to avoid a two hour long wait in line. We decided to take in the permanent exhibits at the Wellcome Collection instead and certainly weren't dissappointed.
I hadn't heard of the Wellcome Collection before last weekend, but apparently I was in the minority as it recieves 500,000 visitors annually! It's easy to see why.
The collection advertises itself as "the free destination for the incurably curious" and is a great alternative for those seeking a similar atmosphere, but wishing to avoid the overcrowding and overpricing of, the frankly overated, Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Piccadilly. The Wellcome Collection is also a little more focused than Ripley's in that it deals with a specific theme; the connections that we can draw between medicine, life and art. 
We are presented with two permanent exhibitions; Medicine Man, a part of the collection obtained by American-British pharmaceutical engineer Sir Henry Wellcome, and Medicine Now an exhibit using art and mixed media to showcase aspects of modern medicine.
Medicine Man, my favourite, and the larger of the two exhibits is an obsorbing and fascinating collection of medical artifacts and curiosities from all over the world. Such wonders include a lock of George III (the mad king)'s hair, a shrunken head and a beautifully preserved 17th century recipe book detailing how to brew up a plague "curing" potion.
This collection is a little more aimed at adults than children due to the sheer amount of death imagery and certain artifacts it could be tricky to explain (see Japanese sex aids) but I'll leave that up to your discretion! 
Medicine Now is also very interesting and is basically a little gallery space presenting various art installations with an emphasis on science and medicine. Some of the work here is a little nauseating but intelligent and thought provoking nonetheless. 
A brilliant little find and completely free! Make sure to come and check out the Wellcome Collection on a rainy afternoon in London.
I'm certain we'll also be back to successfully visit, and review, the Ann Veronica Janssens installation before it dissappears in early January so stay tuned for that, and drop me a comment if you have already visited this or the permanent attractions at the Wellcome Collection to me know what you thought.

Peruvian Mummy, Medicine Man