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Colour and Vision, Natural History Museum

Colour and Vision, Natural History Museum, 15th Jul - 6th Nov 2016.

'Through the eyes of nature, a show that opens our eyes to a psychedelic universe' was how this exhibition was described, a look at how vision has evolved and how different organisms see colour. It charted the evolution of the eyes, the uses of colour in nature, from a warning or disguise to an irresistible invitation, and explains how colour works.


A light installation by Liz West at the start of the exhibition delights in this human visionary spectrum, from red to violet. [Inspired by Newtons seven-fold colour spectrum]. The installation mixes luminous colour and radiant light. By replicating white light through prisms, the room is drenched in pure saturated colour.


The second piece of human interactive colour play in the penultimate wall in the exhibition. Displayed in big iridescent letters are words; such as Deceit, Femininity, Strength, Jealousy. The audience are then invited to place coloured cards - yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green - on hooks surrounding these words. The object being that, that is the colour that you associate with that word. No cards are removed, the colours around each word build up and change as the exhibition goes on.


My interest for both these installations were the colour associations. With Liz West, it was about how you viewed these colours in their purest forms and acknowledging how humans see. The latter was understanding that different people associate different colours with different ideas. Femininity did not have just Pink around it, it had Red and Purple. Strength had Green, Jealousy had Red and Yellow.

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