Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Morbid Anatomy Exhibition and Event Series, September 1-30, Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London, England

This September, Morbid Anatomy will be artist-in-residence at Viktor Wynd Fine Art and The Last Tuesday Society in London, England. The residency will span the entire month, and will include an exhibition (photographs from which you see above), as well as a full month's worth of "Morbid Anatomy Presents" programming that will include some seriously amazing lectures, a screening, a "Congress for Curious Peoples" symposium, and a field trip to the obscure and amazing St Bartholomew's Hospital Pathology Museum where I will also give a lecture on the art and history of anatomical museums.

The exhibition, "Ecstatic Raptures and Immaculate Corpses: Visions of Death Made Beautiful in Italy," will open on Thursday, September 6 and will premiere a new body of work based on my latest obsession: the through-lines connecting the beautiful, immaculately preserved corpse found in both  the churches and enlightenment-era anatomical museums of Italy. The exhibition, which will feature my own photographs and waxworks by the über-talented Eleanor Crook and Sigrid Sarda, will open with Hendricks Gin-sponsored reception on Thursday, September 6 from 6-8 PM. You can download a postcard invitation which contains full information by clicking here.

For those residing in London or its environs, I hope very very much to see at the opening, or at one or more of these terrific events. Also, any suggestions for places I should visit whilst over are highly appreciated! You can email any suggestions to morbidanatomy[at]

Following are some highlights of the residency, after which a complete chronological schedule:

Monday, 3rd September 2012, 7 PM
Granta Magazine - Medicine Issue Launch

Tuesday, 4th September 2012, 7 PM
Robert Marbury - Rogue Taxidermy in the Digital Age

Wednesday, 5th September 2012, 7 PM
Dr Sam Alberti of The Hunterian Museum on the History of Medical Museums
Thursday, 6 September 2012, 6-8 PM
Opening Reception for "Ecstatic Raptures and Immaculate Corpses: Visions of Death Made Beautiful in Italy," Sponsored by Hendricks Gin
Saturday, 8th September 2012, 11 AM - 5:30 PM
'Congress for Curious People' Seminar - London Edition

Monday, 10th September 2012, 7 PM
Ronni Thomas and The Real Tuesday Weld - 'Midnight Archive' screening

Tuesday, 11th September 2012, 7 PM
Martin Clayton on Leonardo Da Vinci and Dissection

Wednesday, 12th September 2012, 7 PM
Curious Cafés of the Belle Epoque with Vadim Kosmos

Monday, 17th September 2012, 7 PM
Gemma Angel on the History of Human Tattoos

Wednesday, 19th September 2012, 7 PM
Field Trip to St Bart's Pathology Museum with Lecture by Joanna Ebenstein

Thursday, 20th September 2012, 7 PM
Paul Craddock - History of Blood Transfusions

Tuesday, 25th September 2012, 7 PM
Dr. James Kennaway - Bad Vibrations

Wednesday, 26th September 2012, 7 PM
Dr. Pat Morris - Extreme Taxidermy: Elephants and Humans

Thursday, 27th September 2012, 7 PM
Royal Raymond Rife and his Oscillating Beam Ray with Mark Pilkington

Sunday, 30th September 2012, 7 PM
Eleanor Crook on Plastic Surgery of the World Wars
Ecstatic Raptures and Immaculate Corpses: Visions of Death Made Beautiful in Italy
An exhibition of photographs by Joanna Ebenstein of the Morbid Anatomy Blog, The Morbid Anatomy Library and Observatory Gallery, Brooklyn with waxworks by Eleanor Crook and Sigrid Sarda.
Viktor Wynde Fine Art, 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP
Click here to download Invitation

In her many projects, ranging from photography to curation to writing, New York based Joanna Ebenstein utilizes a combination of art and scholarship to tease out the ways in which the pre-rational roots of modernity are sublimated into ostensibly "purely rational" cultural activities such as science and medicine.

Much of her work uses this approach to investigate historical moments or artifacts where art and science, death and beauty, spectacle and edification, faith and empiricism meet in ways that trouble contemporary categorical expectations.

In the exhibition "Ecstatic Raptures and Immaculate Corpses" Ebenstein turns this approach to an examination of the uncanny and powerfully resonant representations of the dead, martyred, and anatomized body in Italy, monuments to humankind's quest to eternally preserve the corporeal body and defeat death in arenas sacred and profane.

The artifacts she finds in both the churches, charnel houeses and anatomical museums of Italy complicate our ideas of the proper roles of--and divisions between--science and religion, death and beauty; art and science; eros and thanatos; sacred and profane; body and soul.

In this exhibition, you will be introduced to tantalizing visions of death made beautiful, uncanny monuments to the human dream of life eternal. You will meet "Blessed Ismelda Lambertini," an adolescent who fell into a fatal swoon of overwhelming joy at the moment of her first communion with Jesus Christ, now commemorated in a chillingly beautiful wax effigy in a Bolognese church; The Slashed Beauty, swooning with a grace at once spiritual and worldly as she makes a solemn offering of her immaculate viscera; Saint Vittoria, with slashed neck and golden ringlets, her waxen form reliquary to her own powerful bones; and the magnificent and troubling Anatomical Venuses, rapturously ecstatic life-sized wax women reclining voluptuously on silk and velvet cushions, asleep in their crystal coffins, awaiting animation by inquisitive hands eager to dissect them into their dozens of demountable, exactingly anatomically correct, wax parts.
You can find out more about the exhibition here and more about the events here. All of the above images are drawn from the exhibition "Ecstatic Raptures and Immaculate Corpses: Visions of Death Made Beautiful in Italy," opening at Viktor Wynde's Fine Art on September 6th with a reception from 6-8, and will be on view through the end of the month. And a special shout out to Jessica Pepper, who so expertly and beautifully retouched these images.

1 comment:

William Thirteen said...

I'll be in London for the opening and will try to pop by!