March 8, 2017 - Wellcome Collection - Electricity
March 8, 2017

Wellcome Collection

Woman modeling a hairstyle for the hairdresser Eugéne Ltd, 1923. © Museum of London.

The spark of life
February 23–June 25, 2017

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE
United Kingdom
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The story of electricity is the story of life itself. From the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains, this invisible yet vital force is intrinsic to human life. For centuries electricity has captivated inventors, scientists and artists alike, and in the modern era it has transformed our world.

From the first breaths of Frankenstein’s monster to the brutal simplicity of the execution chair, this exhibition contemplates the contradictory life-giving and death-dealing extremes generated by electricity, and traces the story of how humanity has striven to understand, unlock and gain control over this invisible yet all-encompassing force, which continues to mystify and amaze.

Three celebrated artists have been commissioned to create three new artworks for this exhibition: John Gerrard has taken inspiration for his commission from Luigi Galvani's famous experiments into bioelectricity; Bill Morrison explores historical footage from the Electricity Council archive to consider the movement and networks of electricity and its profound interconnectedness with our daily lives; and Camille Henrot considers our energy-dependent lifestyles, as well as the relationship between humans, technology and the environment.

A trio of films accompany the exhibition, each profiling one of the contemporary artists. The first, featuring John Gerrard, can be found here.

Electricity: The spark of life will run from February 23–June 25, 2017. It is curated by Lucy Shanahan and Ruth Garde, Wellcome Collection, with consultant curator Paul Bonaventura. The exhibition has been produced in collaboration with Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands and the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK. Following its presentation at Wellcome Collection it will tour to both venues in summer 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Wellcome Collection
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