London – A new installation at the Natural History Museum sheds light on how humans perceive colour.
Inspired by Isaac Newton’s 17th-century experiments with prisms, Scottish artist Liz West’s entrancing installation creates illusions that cause visitors to question their visual perception. A combination of glass prisms, light beams and coloured filters disassemble and reassemble white light into the visible colour spectrum.
‘The iridescent patterns and colourings present on the birds, insects and animals in the Natural History Museum collection have inspired the variety and selection of colours in this artwork,’ says West. ‘The science behind the natural processes of colour researched here at the museum has provided the backbone for my work.’
The Colour and Vision exhibition examines the language of colour in nature and its power to repel, entice and delight. More than 350 rarely seen specimens, from fossils of the first organisms with eyes to birds of paradise, show how naturally occurring colour schemes and patterns have informed art, design and innovation.