We often take for granted that our taps provide us with reliable and clean drinking water at relatively low cost, while many people in less developed countries aren’t as fortunate. This fact was the trigger for artist Amy Sharrocks to create her Museum of Water — a collection of water samples that have been crowdsourced from the public to create an homage to this essential component of life.
Helpful staff are at hand to guide you through the samples on display and they vary from the rivers Thames and Wandle to Holy Water and melted ice from a freezer. Some of the more bizarre and inventive items include the remnants of evaporated snow, urine samples and a bottle of water that was originally purchased in 1999 as a stockpile should the apocalyptic predictions of the millennium bug actually come to fruition.
The atmospheric setting of the Lightwells and Deadhouse is perfect, as it is situated under the courtyard fountain and water leaks from the roof. Interactive exhibits are also on display including a sink that re-tells a story only when water is being poured into it.
Visitors are encouraged to donate their own water samples so that the collection is able to grow. This is an engaging exhibition with a strong socio-political message about how we take a necessity of life for granted and thus it proves to be a thoughtful display.
Museum of Water: A live artwork by Amy Sharrocks is on at Somerset House, Strand until 29 June. Free admission. It has been commissioned by Artsadmin in partnership with LIFT, Somerset House, the Cultural Institute at King’s College London and the Canal & River Trust. There will also be a programme of related events running alongside this exhibition.
For more great art to see in London, read our June art listings.