Anatomy and Beyond 2021

  Anatomy and Beyond 2021

International exhibition “ANATOMY & BEYOND” explores new ways in which we envisage the role of art and anatomy, reimagining humanity on Earth and beyond: in here and now, and in possible, post-terrestrial futures. Seven works of medical art and bioart are integrated into the museum's permanent exhibition.

Medical artist Pascale Pollier (Belgium/UK) is the exhibition's curator and has brought together six more international artists who use art to explore science. In her video work, artist Nina Sellars (Australia) has revived a model of an anatomised hand from the 19th century that is housed in the collection of the Anatomy Museum of the University of Melbourne, while artists Andrew Carnie and Eleanor Crook (UK) speculate about the impact that space travel has on the human body and spirit, and Bryan W. Green (UK) re-interprets the dual nature of energy. Meanwhile, artist Mara G. Haseltine (US) reflects on the potential of a drug that inhibits Coronavirus replication in her work “SARS Inhibited”, and bioartist Joe Davis (US) gives hope to the world during the pandemic by bringing more than 200 million billion angels to the Anatomy Museum. Based on Islamic traditions and modern DNA propagation methods, Davis encoded the angels into a DNA molecule that covers a 0.75 mm small head of a pin.

Exhibition is curated by medical artist Pascale Pollier. It is a collaborative project of AEIMS (Association Européenne des Illustrateurs Médicaux et Scientifiques), MAA (The Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain), BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium) and ARSIC (Art Researches Science International Collaboration). Event is supported by the Embassy of  Belgium in Sweden and Latvia, General Representation of the Government of Flanders in Poland and the Baltic States, Vesalius Trust and Honorary Consul of Belgium in Latvia Dr. Didzis Gavars.

Andrew Carnie on his participation in the exhibition ANATOMY & BEYOND:

‘This project allowed me to begin to do something different, to think of what a “future” self might be like and the issues that might arise […] Some people feel that the future of humanity might not be on Earth. I started looking at the effects that space travel might have on us. My research led me to the Astronaut Twin Study.’

NASA’s Astronaut Twin Study investigates a one-year-long mission that took place from March 2015 to March 2016. Retired astronaut Scott Kelly spent one year in low-Earth orbit on board the International Space Station, while his identical twin, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, remained on Earth. The genetically identical twins had 10 generalised biomedical modalities determined before, during, and after the mission. This allowed researchers to detect those changes, including on a molecular level, that resulted from spending time in space. Read more about the Astronaut Twin Study in the journal Science. Researching the project led Carnie to create his work “Limb from Limb”.

‘I started getting ideas for the visuals in my work from reading about weightlessness and the effect it has on our anatomy, about how the distribution of liquids in the body changes, how muscle mass alters and the many other subtle changes to our normal anatomy,’ explains Carnie.

The work on display at the Anatomy Museum consists of two meteorological balloons that start to inflate and deflate at different intervals as soon as someone enters the room. As they change their shape, the balloons gradually reveal anatomy as altered by space travel and the artist’s own features.

‘The anatomical problems that bodies develop in space make me think that we should take better care of our planet,’ Carnie concludes.