The Last Gift
Part of the Hybrid Bodies work, the Belgian chocolate heart-work, The Last Gift, was made to acknowledge the debt we owe to those who offer their bodies so graciously to medical science and comes from a particular session in the Anatomy rooms at Antwerp University when Andrew was so struck by such a gift of a young mans body while making watercolour works of hearts.
The Last Gift
Andrew Carnie has created a Belgian chocolate heart, under the name "The Last Gift", to make visible and recognize the importance of people's solidarity in donating. By offering a part of their bodies for medicine, they are giving the gift of life. This work is part of a series of sculptures made with soap, among which are "Soap Hearts", and "Soap Babies".
The artist creates this sculptural piece, which can be considered a still life, as a kind of offering, or rather, thanksgiving. The population is not fully aware of living organ donation and its importance. It is an altruistic gesture that can save one or more lives when one no longer needs the organs. So this work highlights its existence and exalts it to raise awareness, and we can not only appreciate it aesthetically.
"The Last Gift" also exposes the hybrid -and progressive- nature of humans. The heart, realistically represented, is a mutant element composed of soap and chocolate, but at the same time representing the inside of our body. When we refer to concepts such as "mutants" or "hybridization" they are usually related to a human-technological nature. But the truth is that it is not necessary to travel to the future. Medical science has already advanced enough so that we already naturalize the possibility of living with the heart of another person.
I think it's no accident that Carnie chose organic materials to create a hybrid object. This opens the door for us as viewers to build a space for reflection, and to reconnect with our inner selves. With a simple piece, the artistic proposal is able to make us question the relevance of material life when our body does not even correspond to us. And the human is precisely about finitude, limit, and dematerialization.
Along with "Soap Hearts", "The Last Gift" explores the blurring of bodily boundaries based on a heart transplant. The idea that the same body can be composed of parts of another body, highlights our hybrid nature, which also relates directly to the interpretation of identity, the result of psychological impact. In this series, the artist exhibits sculptures of hearts made with soap as if they were in an operating room. In "Soap Hearts," Carnie created hearts that can be dismembered to reveal their interior and their workings.
Carnie gives a masterclass in a hybrid, transdisciplinary art that unites the visual arts with science. Her artistic practice is about exploring new areas of expression, showing us that hybrid art extends to everything around us, and challenging the boundaries of every field of knowledge.
Nadia Evangelina Carrizo: art critic and curator, Venuzuela