Medicine and Art
your correspondent AGENT in Tokyo visited the much discussed Medicine and Art exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills today. The museum is located on the 52 floor of the Mori building with a breathtaking view over Tokyo. The exhibition contained old and new artistic representations of the human body, for medical purposes such as anatomic studies as well as for the age-old artistic reminder of the brevity and fragility of our human life: memento mori.
However, reminders are only a start. Much representation of the nude and of death goes far beyond a gruesome reminder of our mortality to fascination with what we can't see: our inside. To fascination with difference between the sexes, between the living face and the mask of the dead. The most touching exhibit, to me, was the photograph series of individuals just before and shortly after death by Walter Schels. Notoriously, Stelarc reappeared with his third ear, and Eduardo Kac with the glowing bunny: etoy AGENTS remember the heated discussions at ARS last year about Kac's work with the flower and the replicability of artistic work that draws on undisclosed scientific methods: we disapproved.
Working with mortal remains, Alvin Zafra grated an entire human skull onto sand paper resulting in what looked like an abstract gray painting. Unfortunately, the process documentation on video demystified the grating procedure into a trivial mechanics that seemed pointless and inadequate to the quite intriguing end result.
A parallel exhibit featured the Complaints Choirs by Kalleinen&Kalleinen, a beautifully poetic work that reminds us of the apparent impossibility of happiness and our constant bias towards not living the moment but focusing on problems, obstacles, worries, and all the griefs that turn us into mumbling, bitchy, grumpy old folks.
Walter Schel's life before death series is truly stunning. Maybe it's the disappearance of something between the first and the second image and the mistery about this `something' that is so impressive.