Animal Inside Out @ The Natural History Museum
Gunther Von Hagens has been up to his old tricks again.
Ever looked at your cat and wondered what its eyeballs look like attached to its skull? Nope, didn't think so and we didn't expect many other people had either (If you have.. we suggest some form of help). However, either due to the exhibition being new or there being lot more twisted people than we imagined, the place was packed full of people eager to gawp at the various rabbit brains and cat nervous systems. The sound of slapped wrists abounds around the exhibition as parents forcibly stop their child from taking a part of the exhibition home with them.
One of the most impressive displays is a shark that has been stripped of its skin and tissues so that only its vessels and capillaries remain. In comparison, Damien Hirst's 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living', across the pond, seems like a bit of a cop-out. However, you will never watch Jaws in the same way again as the feathery collection of capillaries renders the shark about as scary as a Teletubby. As much as the display is impressive in showing the extraordinary density of vessels within the body, it also reinforces the idea that under the skin, we are all just blood and guts. Lovely. In fact, it is surprising to see how close the anatomy of the animals is to our own, in particular the gorilla, with a physique that could rival a primetime Schwarzenegger if he also had a beer belly.
From the almost adorable fluffy capillary-ridden renditions of sharks, to the black humour of an anatomized sheep standing upon a sheep-skin rug, to the poignant portrayal of a pregnant goat, the visitor will undergo a range of emotions. If your macabre urge to see more unusual portrayals has you worrying for your sanity, then the crowd of people around will help to assure you that you are, in fact, normal(ish) in this desire. It's all worth it for the grand finale. A breathtakingly giant elephant, the heaviest specimen the Natural History Museum has ever housed, has been preserved and its inner working exposed.
Of course, if being forced to dissect an eyeball in Biology class left you heaving, this exhibition may not be for you but otherwise it is a fascinating experience. The exhibition is open until 16th September, so if you can wait a little longer you will avoid the impatient tutting and glares from other exhibit goers and can have the chance to contemplate goat intestines in peace.