Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love," Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

The Mori Art Museum of Tokyo, in conjunction with the incomparable Wellcome Collection of London, has just launched a really incredible sounding exhibition entitled "Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love."

The show, I am told, was inspired by the Wellcome's groundbreaking "Medicine Man" exhibition (more on that here), and "Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love" appears to be as fascinating and provocative as its muse. Consisting of over 100 pieces of medical curiosa from the Wellcome Collection augmented by contemporary and ancient artworks--including works by Leonardo da Vinci and Damien Hirst--"the exhibition presents an integrated vision of medicine and the arts, science and beauty" while examining "the human body as the meeting place of science (medicine) and art."

The show is up until February 28th of this year. Looks like one not to miss, if you are in the Tokyo area of have some post-holiday money to burn on international travel.

Wish I lived in Tokyo.

More on the show, from the Mori Museum website:
For most human beings their own body represents both the most familiar and most unknown of worlds. From ancient times humans have sought to unravel the secret mechanisms of the body, developing in the process a wealth of medical expertise. At the same time we have seen our own bodies as vessels for the representation of ideals of beauty, and long sought to depict our bodies in paintings and drawings. Leonardo da Vinci, who went so far as to dissect human bodies in order to make more accurate depictions of them, is perhaps the single creator whose output best embodies the integration of the scientific and artistic aspects of the body.

This exhibition, with its theme of "the human body as the meeting place of science (medicine) and art," was made possible with the cooperation of the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest independent charity funding research into human health. Consisting of around 150 valuable medical artifacts from the Wellcome Collection and around 30 works of old Japanese and contemporary art, the exhibition presents an integrated vision of medicine and the arts, science and beauty. The show is a unique attempt to reconsider the science's role in health and happiness and also the meaning of human life and death. A highlight of the exhibition is three anatomical sketches by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection, owned by Queen Elizabeth II.
You can find out more about the show on the Mori Museum website by clicking here. All images from Boing Boing's excellent write-up of the exhibition, which you can read by clicking here. You can visit the Wellcome Collection website by clicking here. And thanks to all of you who sent me links about this exhibition!

P. S. If anyone wants to see the amazing catalogue for this exhibition, you are invited to come visit it (and me) at the Morbid Anatomy Library.

Image credits, top to bottom:
1) Three Tibetan Anatomical Figures; c. 1800; watercolour and black ink on white linen; Wellcome Library
2) Walter Schels; Life before Death - Elmira Sang Bastian, 14th January 2004/23rd March 2004; photography
3) E. Muller; Set of 50 Artificial Glass Eyes; 1900-1940 / Liverpool, England; glass, wood, velvet, leatherette; Science Museum, London

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