Just around the corner from Bank tube station, an exhibition exploring the fleeting nature of life and the spectre of death has opened, appropriately enough for the topic, in an old church.

Entry to the church is dominated by a vast collection of large white globes, which are each ever so slightly deformed.

Not sure about what the art claims to represent, I was personally of the opinion that the layout here reminded me of penitent parishioners lined up to pray before the altar. An altar which has been laid out as for a final supper, although this time with plaster cast objects of modern day life.


Among the exhibits is Damien Hirst’s Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain (2006), an eight-foot tall bronze sculpture that follows the Christian artistic tradition of depicting the martyred apostle with his flayed skin and instruments of torture.

It’s a combination of art and science, as historically, depictions of Saint Bartholomew — the patron saint of surgeons — were often used by medics to aid their anatomical studies.

Elsewhere a huge ball of plants dominates one corner, and a rather odd stick comes with an exceptional load of art-fluff to describe it. Why can’t artists speak English?

Regardless of my views of the silly language used, the placement of modern art work in an old building often works as a visual feast, and here the dominance of plain white decoration on much of the art contrasts vividly with the ornate decoration of the church.

The exhibition is free to visit, and makes for a pleasant distraction in the heart of the city.


Odyssey is open until 18 July 2014, seven days a week, at the 17th century St Edmund in the City, Lombard Street. [map link]

Times: Monday-Friday: 11am-6pm; Saturday & Sunday: 12 noon-4pm


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  1. Fiona says:

    It seems the opening hours might be unreliable. After seeing your post this Sunday morning I immediately headed out to walk to the exhibition. I got there at 12.30, and the church was very thoroughly closed. I was glad of the prod to get out of the house, but maybe people should be cautious about making a special trip to see it at the weekend. I’m guessing weekdays are OK, as the church’s Spirituality Centre is open on weekdays.

  2. Jo says:

    Have just come across your site whilst searching for something elae in London. I used to visit London quiye a lot with my friend who used to take me to see a lot of places of interest that she knew through working there. Do so miss going as we are both unable to visit now. But I know I will enjoy looking at your site. so thankyou in advance.
    Regards Jo

  3. Fiona says:

    I tried again yesterday and it was open; the person who was supposed to open up last Sunday had been ill, apparently. It was definitely worth the visit, and I particularly liked the case with the insect battle. Thank you for the tip, and the warning about the silly art-language.

    Thank you also for the tip about the Roman Baths today. I’d never heard of them, and though we couldn’t see much of the baths themselves, the guides were very informative.

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