An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition

An amazing variety of objects taken from the weird and wonderful collection of Sir Henry Wellcome, pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector, was brought together for this exhibition. I’m not sure it worked as a coherent show but the exhibits were fascinating or entertaining or both. My favourites were the winged phalluses, false eyeballs, a wooden leg, a metal nose and a beautiful box of Japanese sex toys from the 1930s. There were also interactive elements – you could contribute a selfie via the website as well as using the old-fashioned pencil to mark your height on the wall or draw a picture of someone special.

In another gallery I discovered the permanent exhibition Medicine Now, which presents a range of exhibits and art works exploring ideas about the body, genomes, obesity and living with medical science. As well as anatomical models revealing neatly-place internal organs and a plastinated body slice, à la Gunther von Hagens, there’s a shocking sculpture of a gruesomely bulbous human creature called I Can Not Help the Way I Feel by John Isaacs, and a see-through woman whose insides light up when you press a button. But the best for me was the slide show of brilliantly-coloured scanning electron micrographs – hypnotisingly beautiful.


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