I do tend to have a very bad habit of pre judging exhibitions at the British Museum. I was very wrong about the Grayson Perry exhibition which I turned out to love. This time I grossly wrong about their Exhibition on Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind.
Last Friday I slipped down to the museum after work. As a member I got in for free and I have an audio guide card so I also collected one of those too. I stepped in and switched on and was delighted to find that Andrew Graham Dixon, art historian extraordinaire, was the audio guide narrator. Slowly I started around the exhibition. It didn’t matter that the cases were busy all I did was stand or sit to one side listen to the audio guide and then wait by the cases. Spaces to be able to sit or stand are important to me when visiting cultural spaces so I was pleased that I could do this.
The images of disabled woman’s distorted face found by graves of people with disabilities or illness was haunting. The forms of pregnant women carved from tusks and bone small enough to be held in the hand, maybe during birth, were moving. The intricate carvings of animals such as mammoths and lions were beautiful and skilled showing hours if not days or months of dedication and hard work. My favourite item was the swimming deer as featured in the history of the world in 100 objects Radio 4 programme. I have seen these deer’s before but this exhibition helped me understand why they were so important.
I was delighted to find that these objects were beautiful and complex not crude and indistinguishable as I had expected. I also highly recommend using an audio guide. It’s on a smart phone type player that allowed you to zoom and see the object better than in the cases. This exhibition is defiantly worth catching before it closes on 26th May 2013.