Gunther von Hagen is currently taking names to participate in the newest art craze: Plastination. Its to die for.
A man sits at a chess board, concentrating. He is intent on making the correct next move. This man’s brain is exposed.
Another man holds his own skin like a pair of wet jeans, away from his body, gazing in approval.
As sculptures these works of art are fairly disturbing. But scientist Gunther von Hagen would not stop at sculpture. These are real cadavers.
Gunther von Hagen encourages us to “discover the mysteries under your skin.” His exhibition, “koerperwelten”, or “body worlds” has been named a “publicity gag” by some German newspapers. Were they trying to make a pun?
As you walk around the exhibit, you see a strange mixture of science and art. All the corpses are artfully arranged, but you can see the muscle and bone structure quite clearly, and von Hagen has intentionally put in a few purely scientific works, for example a smoker’s lung.
Plastination is the process of replacing lipids and water with non-decaying polymers such as silicone rubber, epoxy resins or polyester. The dried out samples are placed in a polymer bath which is brought to boil in a vacuum and then cured with air, light or heat. The specimens are very lifelike and durable.
All bodies were consented donors. You can become a donor too by requesting information from the Heidelburg Institute for Plastination. Currently information is available only in German.
Von Hagen’s works are quite interesting, but not for the weak-stomached. He is currently touring his exhibition around Europe, whether his bodies reach New York is up for debate.