Having been dubbed an exhibition “made for Instagram” by Time Out, Colour and Vision at the Natural History Museum is as beautiful as it is enthralling. It tracks the 565-million-year evolution of vision, and how life on Earth came to discover – yes, discover – colour. And discovery is exactly the point: colour and vision have separate but inextricably linked histories. It is the relationship between the two evolutionary triumphs that this exhibition elucidates.
An interactive room within the exhibition helps bring to life the specifically human relationship to colour, by inviting visitors to attach a colour swatch to a particular emotive word. Danger was surrounded by red swatches, while strength found itself amongst a mosaic of purple, green and yellow. This highlighted the discrepancies between colours that signify objective danger, and the more subjective, abstract concepts with which we form individual, colourful relationships.
Perhaps I could praise this exhibition as an incred-eye-ball or ¬eye-mazing, but this magnificent curation of beauty and science deserves more than cheap punnery. Colour and Vision tackles an immensely philosophical and scientific question regarding the purpose of colour, and vision, that useful tool possessed by the luckiest inhabitants of planet Earth.
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