A warehouse in Peckham is filled with blood at the moment, pumping, dripping, splattered, filling a gallery with the life force of humanity.
Revealing the captivating, visceral power of blood to expose, shock and save lives, the exhibition highlights the scientific and symbolic nature of blood by telling personal and provocative stories of this vital, life-affirming fluid that connects us all.
The displays are each very different, linked by the connection with being bloody.
Some are undeniably controversial, but then in turn asks why we are shocked by such unconventional use of human blood. How much of that is just the artist using shock to gather publicity, or had a legitimate message is something you can ponder.
Probably the most visually impressive, and politically charged displays is in a side room that’s a bit easy to miss if you don’t notice the closed door.
A room optically splattered with real human blood – projections from old-school overhead slides scattered around the floor like broken robots who have died in mid-dance.
These are the bloods of gay men who were refused the right to do that other thing that blood can do – to save lives through donation. A video plays in the corner recounting a protest to overturn the ban on gay blood entering the mainstream supply.
Elsewhere, blood drips down a screen, with a heart pump on the floor keeping the art alive. A medical display pumps pigs blood around a series of medical like-objects.
An old toilet is filled with confectionery, bleeding over the sinks and into the urinals. There are small display cards held up with suitably red tape to explain what the art means, and it’s usually the text that explains, or shocks what can at times be typically obscure artworks.
The exhibition is open until 1st November, and is free to visit.
Opening hours are Mon-Fri: 12noon-8pm and weekends: 10am-6pm.
The Copeland Gallery is a bit difficult to locate – the easiest way is to leave Peckham Rye station and through the arcade, then turn right to the pedestrian crossing, and there, pass down the alley to the far end. It’s on the right side in the main courtyard.
Science Gallery London is a project for King’s College London and will be opening in a new permanent venue in 2018 as a space where science and art meet.