Tuesday, August 03, 2010
In July Aya and I went to an art show called Body Worlds in Niigata. I have known about Body Worlds for about 5 years, and have wanted to go for just as long, but was never able to be in the same city as one of the rotating exhibits. Luckily for me, Aya got some free tickets through work. I have always been interested in anatomy, my favorite part about creating art is exploring the human body. Seems only natural that as a human I am interested in what is inside of me. However, many people don't feel this way and would label that kind of curiousity as morbid or grotesque. I can see why people feel that way, but I don't share their opinion as art, and inherintly this exhibit, are not meant to disgust, but educate.
Most of the bodies in the exhibits are human, though animals do make an occasional appearance. The bodies in the exhibits are preserved by plastination. Plastination, in a nutshell, replaces the fats and water in tissue with polymers. The person to popularize the show and invent the technique of plastinization is Gunther Von Hagens. Currently there are 5 shows touring the world. All cadavers are donated and if you are interested in making a donatoin you can go here (http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/body_donation.html)
I expected this show to be breathtaking and I admit that it was very interesting, but there seemed to be something missing for me. Perhaps, life? But really I think what was missing was a true sense that these models were human. Even though the evidence was right before my eyes it was hard for me to believe that these were real human beings. I enjoyed looking at slices of people, a smokers vs. non-smokers lungs, women and men, brains with alzeimers, holding a brain in my hands, and seeing the blood vessels of the human body displayed independant of the torso in what looked like red hanging moss. I think its an important exhibit and I think most people, rather than leaving uneasy or deomoralized, leave feeling the real beauty and fragility of the human body.