Monday, 31 March 2014

Out & About: the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland has been a long time favourite of mine, from before it was even called this and had fish in a huge pond in the atrium (I miss the fish!).  It is rare when I am in Edinburgh that I don’t walk up the hill and over the bridge to spend a little bit of time there and each time I find something different.

This visit, I ended up exploring the early history of Scotland and got rather excited by some of the shapes and patterns of the items on display, particularly the carved stones and pottery. 

Some of the metalwork was incredibly impressive too.

I’m sure I’ve wandered through this part of the museum before, but I had never noticed the Andy Goldsworthy installations in the galleries.  A lovely, helpful guard took me round all of them when he saw I was interested and as they have been there since this part of the museum opened I must have seen them on another visit, but they hadn’t caught my eye before.  Perhaps it was because they just fitted in so perfectly with the early history items on display; they complemented them so well.  It is a fantastic idea juxtaposing the ancient and modern in the same space in a museum.  It makes you reconsider both the old and the new. 

I do like Andy Goldsworthy’s work; his fantastic use of basic materials, often highlighting the fleeting nature of life and its beautiful moments.  I love how these installations don’t fight with the museum artefacts; they don’t shout for attention because they are new, but blend into the gallery, adding to the ambience.  This doesn’t make them unimportant though as they really enhance the viewing experience, which is perhaps what art should be about?

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