he is perfect for me to practice surgery.

Professor Gunther Von Hagen creates a controversial macabre hybrid of art and anatomy, using a technique called plastination to hold organs and corpses in a life-like state. He replaces body fluids and fat with plastic, halting decomposition and preserving the subjects as they are. His Body Worlds exhibitions and public and televised autopsies have caused outcry all over the world: being labelled pornographic, immoral and borderline psychotic. Both the Catholic and Protestant churches declared that his exhibit was a breach of ethical and moral values, opposing Christian principles and even natural law, and stressing that human dignity must be respected after death. And yet, on average, five people attending the Berlin exhibit every day signed up to have their bodies donated, bringing the total number who have made this commitment to 3,700. Von Hagen believes his work allows people to look at death in a new way, without fear and allowing an appreciation of their own anatomy.

“I had long arguments. Is it art or not? And I always said, no, no, no – but then I realised the people see the specimens in an emotional way. It goes beyond information. I understood step by step that plastination opens the hearts of the people to themselves. They recognise themselves, get a new kind of body pride.”

boards of canada : opening the mouth

measles mumps rubella : nice hollow bodies

the servant : cells

how to swim : bones

the knife : a lung

this mortal coil : loose joints

natalie merchant : my skin

the scala choir : heartbeats

peaches : operate

headphones : wise blood

3 Responses

  1. Marilu

    i went to the body worlds exhibition when it was here in Los Angeles a couple years ago. i don’t remember. i must say that it was pretty interesting. the nervous system was crazy. i don’t know how he did it. amazing.

    i think the only thing that made me feel bad was the pregnant lady with the child in her womb. and the other fetus.

    it was pretty neat to see the human anatomy in person. it’s not the same when you look at drawings of it in a book.

  2. music is art

    his work really does freak me out… but good to bring in some strange things every once in awhile. thankyou ms zoe for posting today and sharing *heartbeats* 😉

  3. Matt

    The cynic in me says the “artist” thought he could make a lot of money out of doing something controversial. Not my cup of tea, but I suppose it is art.