Big bang: where art and science collide

Image: AGAIN © Lawrence Epps

Image: AGAIN © Lawrence Epps


Today, contemporary art galleries communicate not only social and political messages, but also difficult technical concepts through the universal language of visuals and experiences. Telling the story of scientific ideas and innovations through art is an exciting area; and it’s enjoying a global expansion. Brand new to the space is London’s Science Gallery.

Opened in September 2018 in a renovated section of the old Guy’s Hospital at London Bridge (part of King’s College), the new space has no permanent collection: instead the gallery promises three themes each year revolving around cutting-edge research and “always… an element of surprise”. Each will incorporate both exhibitions and events—including performances, podcasts, discussions and even live experiments— in a real blurring-of-the-lines between the disciplines of art and science. Set to be delivered by a hard-hitting ‘brain trust’ of individuals hailing from the arts, media, medicine and academia, this promise carries weight.

The space itself is welcoming: visitors enter through large glass sliding doors, via an open plan café, the sort of place that invites gatherings, conversations or shared working. The galleries are housed upstairs. The inaugural exhibition, Hooked, explored humans’ vulnerability to addiction of all types by focusing on individuals and their experiences, then re-framing these in terms of public health and society, to encourage thought. It was installed within a constructed, free-flowing space, with visitors invited to explore nooks and crannies containing digital installations; or progress at their own pace along the winding main walkway. It’s quite a departure from the ‘white cube’ model, known for housing ‘modern’ art.

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