News Column

Review: Theatre: Museum of Water: Somerset House, London 4/5

June 10, 2014

Lyn Gardner



A human body can be as much as 80% water. We can survive for long periods without food but no more than a week without water. Water is our friend, but as this winter's floods demonstrated, it can devastate, too. Scientists are increasingly concerned about the effect of climate change on water supply.

All these ideas and more bubble up in Amy Sharrocks's installation, co-produced by Artsadmin and Lift, which sits hard up against the Thames in the underground spaces of Somerset House, once the home of the Navy Board. The courtyard fountains set the tone for a journey into the watery depths which begins with a trail of buckets and the sound of drips and develops into an intriguing rabbit-hole journey through an unlikely free temporary museum dedicated entirely to water donated by the public.

There is water dating from the interglacial period and melted hailstones; water collected from sacred rivers and the pond at the end of the garden; there is urine and even somebody's breath after yoga. Those who donate write their own label for their exhibit, offering as much or as little information as they desire.

Every exhibit tells a story, and Sharrocks and others are on hand to flesh out some of those stories. The real pleasure, however, of this unexpectedly touching enterprise is the odd beauty of the myriad of containers and Sharrocks's constantly shifting curation of them, which throws up unforeseen juxtapositions. An ice core collected by the British Antarctic Survey containing snowfall from the years 1814-17 sits cheek by jowl with snowballs made two years - and half a lifetime - ago by four-year-old Luke. The tears from a miscarriage are displayed close to bathwater shared by a mother and child. You could pop in for 10 minutes or stay for an hour. Either way, this quirkiest of experiences is watertight.

Lyn Gardner

Until 29 June.



For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Guardian (UK)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters