Dreams fascinate me. Why do we dream? Through the ages, people have attributed magical, spiritual or psychological significance to them. I have even had a few dreams that were strangely prophetic. So, I was keen to see the exhibition on Sleep & Dreaming at the Wellcome Collection before it closes next weekend.
I went on Saturday afternoon and, although it was very crowded, I was not disappointed.
The exhibition's scope is wide. It covers artistic representations of sleep and dreams, historical views, scientific studies, psychology, sleep disorders, social trends in sleeping arrangements - even bed bugs get a dark corner of their own.
Many of the things on display are decidedly weird - fabulous paintings of nightmare scenes, charms found in old mattresses to ward off night demons, strange historic scientific devices and a high-tech cart designed for homeless people to sleep inside.
Despite its subject matter, this exhibition won't send you to sleep. It doesn't bog you down with so much information you can't take it all in. Instead, it offers succinct facts, plenty of pictures and displays of interesting things to look at plus a few interactive exhibits. I certainly went away feeling I had learnt a few things and also inspired to learn more about some of the things Sleep & Dreaming touched on, such as lucid dreaming.
Sleep & Dreaming is on at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE until 9 March 2008. Visit: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/
Note: The sleeping cat image is not part of the exhibition, it is from my own album.