Author(s): Martin Kemp; Marina Wallace
This magnificently illustrated book accompanies the most ambitious exhibition in the Hayward Gallery's program for the year 2000. Spectacular Bodies: The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo da Vinci to Now is a ground-breaking exhibition with the potential to be a visual, cultural, and academic revelation with profound impact. The project encourages a new way of looking at visual objects from the territories that are conventionally labeled "medicine" and "art." The human body is an astounding feat of engineering. For centuries man has striven to understand its complexities, both artistically and anatomically, often resorting to human dissection. Illustrating the point at which medicine and art collide, Know Thyself brings together an extraordinary range of more than 250 objects from more than eighty medical and art museums and collections worldwide. Works of art from across the centuries include the anatomical drawings of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Durer, and Stubbs, seventeenth-century portraits of surgeons and paintings by great masters including Rembrandt, Hogarth, Courbet, Gericault, and Degas. These works will be shown in a new context alongside medical instruments, prints, and drawings used in the medical study of the human face and body, and life-size anatomical models. Today, as forensic and medical sciences advance as never before--with the development of genetic fingerprinting, cryogenics, and designer babies--artists continue to find inspiration in the human body. Video installations, photography, and sculpture will present new perspectives on the historic material. The eight contemporary artists involved range from internationally celebrated video artists Bill Viola and Tony Oursler, to younger artists like Gerhard Lang, Christine Borland, and Marc Quinn.