Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In Paris, the Grande galerie de l'évolution (Great Gallery of Evolution) is part of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, and sits close by the Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparé (which I posted about here).
On the outside, the Great Gallery is a large, stately building with a lovely facade - as befits an institution whose origins can be traced back to the 17th century.
On the inside, however... it's party time.
The huge hall is kept darkened, while the walls are aglow with vivid red light and the ceiling is a constantly shifting rainbow of reds, pinks, purples and blues.
This photograph shows what the space looks like with the lights turned off.
When the lights are on, the psychedelic ecstasy of the roof offers a surreal contrast with the displays of taxidermy in each gallery. (It's a bit like a taxidermy disco really. Except, unlike a real nightclub, you don't get groped all the time and it's actually fun.)
The ceiling reminds me of a dream I had once,* where I was standing overlooking this path down into a huge dark forest. The forest was really savage looking, full of sharp black spikes and brambles, but the sky above was the most brilliantly intense rainbow of colours I've ever seen.
(*Yes I realise that describing your dreams is one of the most socially awkward things a person can do with their clothes on. Whatever man, it's my blog. I do what I want.)
Anyway, that is what this space reminds me of - it's a technicolor dreamscape.
My favourite were the insects:
Some of the best beetles I've ever seen.
I want these so bad.
I did have a few questions after my visit.
For instance, why does the croc in the Australian section have a turd on it?
I'm struggling to think of any creature gutsy enough to get comfortable pooping near that snout.
Unless it wasn't a part of the original exhibit. Oh dear.
In any case, I'm hoping to visit the Museum of Natural History again, because I missed seeing the Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology this time around. The Jardin des Plantes was closing by the time I got to it, so I want to visit there as well.
Time to start saving again...