Review - Mind as Matter and Medicine Now @ Wellcome Collection

Mind As Matter
I think brains are pretty cool. So when I heard of an exhibition about brains, merging science with art, i was extremely excited. This exhibition (@ Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, until June 2012) takes us through an examination of the human fascination with the brain. The exhibition housed photographs and paintings along with artefacts, scientific objects, and yes, brains (preserved of course). The goal of the Wellcome Collection is to present exhibitions at the meeting point between art and science. I found that with this exhibition waned a bit on this front; the outer edges presented the more art-focused pieces while the science was in the middle, the two existing in a segregated environment. This meant that the desired experience of seeing science as art and art as science was lost, for me anyway. That said, some of the pieces were really cool; casts of brains and the vein system in the human brain, and most haunting, drawings of a child experiencing a pre-operative procedure for a mental condition that will stay with me for some time.

Medicine Now
This exhibition, upstairs at Wellcome Collection, achieved what I feel Mind as Matter did not. Taking 5 areas of medicine now, the gallery was split up to merge the science and art of these. The most impressive section for me was the one on obesity; an installation of a tall, thin book shelf, stuffed with diet books reminded of the overwhelming amount of 'advice' available on the subject. Another sculpture (I've forgotten the title) looked at obesity physically; instead of the beautiful greek physique we are accustomed to seeing in a sculpture, the piece inflated various points of the body, balloning like the morbidly obese bodies we see from time to time. The figure was headless, and its body read like a road map of neglect. Other installations in this section were also very moving, includng the world map made of the kind of mosquitos that carry malaria; delicate, and dangerous.

I would recommend going along to check both out....they are definitely worth the time.