Corpse Art?


sorabji.com: Is it art?: Corpse Art?
THIS IS A READ-ONLY ARCHIVE FROM THE SORABJI.COM MESSAGE BOARDS (1995-2016).
By Christopher on Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 03:31 pm:
    Last night I caught a show (I think it's called "would you believe"), and in this particular segment they showed a medical museum in France that contained the works of a very disturbed individual. He had taken human cadavers, stripped off their skin and using a mixture of dye and embalming fluid, had articulated their nervous and muscular systems. They also had nasty glass eyeballs. The real corker is that he did this to animals as well, and his crowning masterpiece was his dead fiancÚ astride a dessicated horse. These were some of the most disturbing things I've ever seen in my life. If anyone knows the name of this guy (Fraggonard???), please post it here. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I'd like to find out more info about this. Also, is it art???

By Markus on Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 06:30 pm:
    I saw part of this as well a couple weeks ago, but had the impression it was in Germany, Dusseldorf maybe.

By Christopher on Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 06:58 pm:
    Granted, Markus, that we might expect something like this from those fun loving aryans, but I'm quite certain that these..uh..pieces are residing in a science and medical museum in France, probably in Paris. I think you may be thinking of the fella that is known primarily for his photographs, which included still lifes (haha) with corpses, fruit and other things. What I really want to know is how they can get away with using corpses like this. The French guy I can understand, since it took place in the 1880's and it did take place in that bastion of uncivility, France (hehehe), but I've seen other "works of art" that utilized the dead. I saw a performance piece once, where the artist(s) attached dead squirrels to little motorized chassis', which while rolling along would make the squirrels bop up and down. There were at least a dozen of them and they were all controlled via remote control. Very memorable. Anyway, hopefully someone caught this broadcast and can tell me a little bit more. I don't know why I find this so fascinating, although its Probably because it's one of the most alarming things I've ever seen in my life.

By Markus on Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 08:21 pm:
    Here ya go. And for lagniappe, a little guide to corpse museums in Thailand.

    Don't thank me. Please.

By Jeffrey Scott Holland on Tuesday, March 17, 1998 - 11:31 pm:
    CNN also gave the exhibit some coverage recently. It was pretty cool. Of course, it's nothing new. Everyone from Hermann Nitsch to Tentatively-A-Convenience to Survival Research Laboratories has used human corpses or body parts in art, though not as elegantly as this French guy. The motorized squirrel carcass definitely sounds like a Mark Pauline/Survival Research Labs shtick.

By Pete on Wednesday, March 18, 1998 - 08:17 pm:
    And what of the "artist" who featured the cow sliced down the middle and put on display under plexiglass? You could walk between the halves and see all of the insides....is that art or is that just disgusting?

By Markus on Friday, March 20, 1998 - 07:37 pm:
    Neither, actually. Or maybe a little bit of both, but mostly just fascinating. Since the taboo of it being a human being was removed.

By Buffy on Friday, March 20, 1998 - 09:01 pm:
    I don't think it's art unless it's pretty. Those people that try so hard to be important by making nasty hateful statements with the ugliest and most disgusting things they can think of are not artists - they're degenerates. I don't know when people started mistaking that for art - real art is those beautiful paintings and statues of angels and Madonnas. Or music - classical, or stuff like Enya that just makes you feel like you're soaring in the sky. Or those black&white pictures of kids with just a little splash of color on them - there's really something special about those. Why can't people enjoy things that make them feel GOOD anymore?



By Christopher on Friday, March 20, 1998 - 11:49 pm:
    Sure Buffy, and the only valid emotions are "Happy" ones. It's not as if the human animal is capable of anything like anger, outrage, pity, or pathos. In fact, I think that they should outlaw the use of any color other than "Happy" colors , like red, blue and yellow. Oh wait. Blue has some negative connotations, doesn't it. OK. No Blue. And red. Well, you know what Freud said about that color. So, lets ditch that too. And supposed works of art by "artists" like Breughel, Bosch and Bacon should be burned, 'cause, I don't exactly feel jolly when I see them. So , unless its yellow and has a big smile on it, I guess it's not art. And as far as music is concerned, WE'll just have to ditch that Wagner. Not a very cheery guy, you know? He couldn't possibly have anything positive to add. And I heard that Beethoven was probably a manic depressive, so screw him too. In fact, If it ain't Yanni, I think it should be outlawed. Why, we should set up a government bureau: The Ministry od Smiley Faces. They will determine what we will see or listen to, and ensure that none of those imposters try to foist their sham "art" on us, the delicate flowers of Mother Earth. You know what, Buffy, I'm gonna stop now, because I might say something that'll wipe that smiley face off of you for a long, long time. And being in the creative industries, I'd sure hate to get blacklisted with all those assholes that I just mentioned.

By Perv on Saturday, March 21, 1998 - 12:32 am:
    Buffy - Thank you for pulling my leg. Now pull a little higher.

By Buffy on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 05:44 pm:
    Christopher - I think you must have misunderstood me. I don't think everything needs to be happy - that would be shallow. There's a difference between happiness and beauty, isn't there? Doesn't a beautiful sadness sometimes make you feel good too - not like Mozart or Beethoven, who generally are happy, but for instance certain love songs that just tear out your heart - like that one "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago, or "Seasons in the Sun", classic stuff like that. And maybe I'm crazy, but doesn't beauty sometimes make you feel sad, too? And besides - who says the artist has to be happy for his art to be happy? I don't give two hoots about how Beethoven felt - I just like the way his music makes ME feel.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you mean that you're "in the creative industries"?


    P.S. to Perv - I'm not sure what you mean.

By Buffy on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 05:51 pm:
    Christopher - I think you must have misunderstood me. I don't think everything needs to be happy - that would be shallow. There's a difference between happiness and beauty, isn't there? Doesn't a beautiful sadness sometimes make you feel good too - not like Mozart or Beethoven, who generally are happy, but for instance certain love songs that just tear out your heart - like that one "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago, or "Seasons in the Sun", classic stuff like that. And maybe I'm crazy, but doesn't beauty sometimes make you feel sad, too? And besides - who says the artist has to be happy for his art to be happy? I don't give two hoots about how Beethoven felt - I just like the way his music makes ME feel.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you mean that you're "in the creative industries"?


    P.S. to Perv - I'm not sure what you mean.

By Perv on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 06:39 pm:
    Wow! You were SERIOUS? That's even funnier!

By Buffy on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 06:49 pm:
    Perv - I continue not to understand you.

By Buffy on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 09:03 pm:
    Perv - I'm still not sure I understand you.......

    Are you making fun of me?

By Dave on Sunday, March 22, 1998 - 09:31 pm:
    Here I go opening myself up to ridicule but I have to sympathize with Buffy. Don't you all think at some point it just becomes juvenile to try to one-up the reigning gross out champion. I have no problem admitting that there is some very powerful, very disturbing "work" out there but I refuse to validate every moronic little twerp's attempt at being shocking. Yawn.

By Art Corpse on Monday, March 23, 1998 - 01:41 pm:
    Dave, would you prefer us to throw rocks at you, or will pointy sticks suffice?

By Christopher on Monday, March 23, 1998 - 04:27 pm:
    "In the creative industries" in my case means that on beautiful sunny days, I go to the local pound and select their cutest kittens, which they promptly hand over for $25 a pop. Then I skip home with them in a little picnic basket to my sunny artist studio, where I shave them carefully, and then place them in my Miele Flamenco Food Processor and set it for PureÚ. After letting them pureÚ to the right consistency, I pour them into my bathtub, and coat my naked body evenly. Once I'm covered with a nice coating of kitten pureÚ, I roll around on 8 foot canvases. While I do this I listen to my favorite Barry Manilow LP's.You'd be amazed at the effect. I figure on an average that it takes 6-8 medium sized kittens to do the job right. Of course, my canvases sell in all the best galleries for upwards of $10,000 each. Not bad for a $150-$200 investment, huh? But, the joy that I bring to patrons of the arts...Well, I just can't put a price on that.

By Markus on Monday, March 23, 1998 - 08:11 pm:
    Christopher, that's so derivative of Wegman's work with puppies. I'm sure you could easily pass it off to the less sophisticated in the soybean-infested areas of the country as a scathing Warholian comment on Wyeth's revisionist obsession with Mann's inhumanity to Mann. Though I'm not sure I understand your latest Siamese series. Let me guess: Tiny Tim on blend? Sarcastic, yet obnoxious. The use of intestines was trenchantly understated. I'll have my animal control people call your animal control people.

By Nb on Monday, March 23, 1998 - 09:51 pm:
    "Seasons in the sun?" Doesn't that belong here?

By Sorabji on Friday, April 3, 1998 - 05:23 pm:
    12:01 PM ET 04/03/98

    Britons convicted of stealing body parts for art


    LONDON (Reuters) - An aristocratic British sculptor and a
    laboratory technician were convicted Friday of stealing body
    parts in the name of art.
    It was the first conviction in Britain for the theft of
    human remains.
    Anthony-Noel Kelly, a 42-year-old nephew of the Duke of
    Norfolk who used up to 40 body parts to make molds for his
    avant-garde sculpture, received a nine-month prison sentence
    with a stipulation that he must serve at least half of it.
    Niel Lindsay, 25, who was working as a laboratory assistant
    at the Royal College of Surgeons when he smuggled out the pieces
    for a fee of 400 pounds ($666), was given a six-month suspended
    sentence.
    The pieces -- including an old man's torso and the trunk of
    a woman, her womb exposed -- helped Kelly create lifelike
    sculptures that were exhibited on the walls of a London gallery
    last year.
    The sculptures made no big splash in the art world but were
    so realistic that an anatomical expert contacted the police,
    suspecting the artist had unauthorized access to human remains.
    Both men insisted in court they did no wrong and treated the
    parts with respect, burying them once the work was finished.
    But jurors at Southwark Crown Court in London heard how
    preserved pieces of limbs, torsos and heads were carried in
    plastic garbage bags on the subway from Lindsay's workplace to
    Kelly's West London studio.
    The body parts were then stored in wooden chests before
    being used to create gilt-covered sculptures.
    Kelly, a former butcher and former friend of Prince Charles,
    the heir to the throne, told the court he had ``an alphabet of
    bodies'' from which he created his pieces, later burying the
    body parts at his family estate.
    He denied having any ``morbid fascination with death,''
    saying that he found beauty in anatomy and only wanted to
    ``demystify'' death.
    ^REUTERS@

By Christopher on Friday, April 3, 1998 - 06:49 pm:
    MT,
    Thanks for posting this intriguing piece of news. It's interesting to note that the difference between Mr. Kelly and J. Dahmer appears to be primarily financial. At what point does art become compulsion, or for that matter , at what point does compulsion become art? It's been rumored for over a century that Jack the Ripper himself was a member of the royal family. There has been a long tradition of the rich and famous having tremendously deep appetites for the more arcane aspects of food, love and art. As the great chefs of Europe have noted "Presentation is everything".

By R.C. on Sunday, April 5, 1998 - 12:47 pm:
    Thank you, Nb. I could not BELIEVE anyone wd use the words 'Seasons In The Sun' & 'classic' in the same sentence! Methinks Buffy has slain one too many vampires. But I suppose if I had her unfailingly positive outllook on life/
    I'd probably be much more popular person. (I guess it's good that I prefer my solitude to most other people's company...)

    But turning to the topic at hand -- can someone explain to me when a human ceases to be human/if not a the moment of death? I have never understood America's obsession with corpses & their disposal. I might not pay to see it/but I find nothing morally offensive abt art that utilizes corpses or body parts -- so long as proper permission was obtained for acquiring same. But really -- if I died tomorrow & someone wanted to used my body parts to create an exhibit/why shd they have to get my parent's permission? They didn't 'own' my body when I was alive/so how do they sudden acquire the rights to it once I've died? Once life has left me/what's the real difference btwn me & roadkill?

    Yeah, I know -- my parent's wdn't spend a fortune on a coffin & flowers & cry like babies over a dead cat. But that's not really abt me -- that's abt them. (And I've requested cremation anyway.) But a carcassd is just a carcass, isn't it?

    The aboriginies in Papua, New Guinea used to cannabalize their dead up until the early 1960's. To me, THAT's reverence -- partaking of the very bodies of the deceased. I wdn't do it myself/but I can understand eating yr dead realitives more than I can understand embalming them & putting clothes & make-up on them just so you can stick them in an overpriced wooden box & bury them. Why is everyone so skeeved out abt using human remains in 'art'? Or am I just so hopelessly warped that I can't grasp what is sacred abt the human body?

By Dave on Sunday, April 5, 1998 - 03:20 pm:
    I agree with you R.C. and yet, for some reason, I have reservations about letting people have corpses to fiddle around with. If my daughter were to die, the very last thing I'd do is let some joker have her body for an art project. Or prop her up in a lawn chair on the sidewalk with a sign around her neck reading "parting out". I think the right thing to do with dead bodies is to cremate them and dump them into a body of water, preferably not the municipal reservoir. Of course, it's up to the individual.

By Dave on Sunday, April 5, 1998 - 03:27 pm:
    Sticks and stones to you, Art.

By PetRock on Sunday, April 5, 1998 - 10:15 pm:
    My ideal way to go out is cremation...(of course this would be after the doctors could harvest whatever usable organs I may still have left. That way at least some strangers would benefit from my dying)

    And then sprinkle my ashes somewhere nice...somewhere I have never been before. Like a mountain range on a sunny spring day. Some shit like that...

By Cthulu on Thursday, April 16, 1998 - 06:05 am:
    I want to be flung like in the Northern Exposure episode, I think it would be fun and entertainment for all. The only thing I'd change would be I don't want to be in the coffin.

By Christopher on Thursday, April 16, 1998 - 01:31 pm:
    I want to be freeze dried and dressed up like Santa Claus with vinyl go-go boots and incorporated into one of Macy*s Christmas windows. Every year. Forever. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and with proper care and dusting, he'll always be here.

By Blindswine on Thursday, April 16, 1998 - 02:54 pm:
    lol

    you're ill...

    you know that, right?

By Pete on Friday, April 17, 1998 - 12:42 pm:
    Reminds me of a rather...uh, "large" woman that I work with. She actually has knee-high vinyl go-go boots.

    I'm just waiting for her to start doing "The Swim" in those boots....

By James on Monday, August 10, 1998 - 05:34 pm:
    Has anyone ever heard of the British artist and philosopher Robert Lenkiewicz? Not only is he fascinated with the subject of death he also has the ultimate in "Momento Mori"....an embalmed corpse named Diogenese. I am currently making a documentary on the use of the corpse in art...Please if you have any feelings, knowledge or understanding of the subject get in touch with me. Leave me a message.

By Spiracle on Monday, August 10, 1998 - 10:39 pm:

By Spiracle on Monday, August 10, 1998 - 10:59 pm:
    The aware know that my work is based
    on the need to create images of love
    and redemption. Most of my works are
    made by the collaboration with people
    ( the source) who know of truly unique
    individuals who are willing to be
    photographed. I give the source of the
    resulting photograph a gift print. The
    model can either be paid or receive a gift
    print.

    I am looking for a reasonably attractive
    blind woman 20 to 40 years old who I can
    photograph nude. Both her eyes must look
    totally dysfunctional.

    I am also looking for an attractive woman,
    20 to 40years without arms. Will travel
    anywhere in the world,
    if need be.

    ~Joel-Peter Witkin.(1997)


By
Wisper on Monday, August 17, 1998 - 01:30 am:

    I wish there was another check-box on my organ donor card.
    I wish I could donate my body to art.
    I wish I could donate my body to Joel-Peter Witkin.
    For 2 years I've been in love with his work. I remember when I saw a book of his photos sitting on the coffee table at a friend's party. I was blindly flipping through it until I saw "the Kiss" : that is, the head of an old man that has been cut in half and put back together to look as though it is two heads...kissing...
    Hours pass..nothing at the party could pull me off the couch or away from that book. It's perfect. It's beautifull. It's everything I ever wanted to see.
    Yeah, it happens to be all corpses. The medium has nothing to do with it.I can't think of a greater honor than being used in art after I die. That way you truly live forever.


    (now I'm all upset, I knew I should have stayed out of this)


By Spiracle on Monday, August 17, 1998 - 09:20 pm:

    well..never give up on your dreams....


By Don juan on Thursday, August 20, 1998 - 06:01 pm:

    Maybe what is interesting is neither life nor death but the transition?
    That little spermatazoid breaking through to the other side.
    Art can be a celebration of libido or morbido but I like it best when it hits that transitional thing.
    Maybe with women also it is that time between blooming and fading that is most attractive?
    Maybe womens breasts are the physical manifestation of the life death interstices?
    Maybe their sex is the gateway to all mystery?


By Herr snuff on Thursday, August 20, 1998 - 06:19 pm:

    We germans used to do this thing and if a person were to damage a sacred tree we would cut out the navel and nail it to the contaminated part of the tree and then we make the person go round the tree so that the intestines act as a kind of elastoplast.
    We have revived this life affirming custom and I can let those who share my love of nature have copies of the video.
    Remember art is life!


By MunkyChild on Sunday, June 4, 2000 - 11:16 pm:

    it seems ive somehow stumbled upon this site, out of nowhere, but i like it, its simple, and seems to grab my attention.. i went from working with photoshop 5.5 to looking at this site... i like it


By Katie on Thursday, March 7, 2002 - 09:24 pm:

    Ok i have not read most of this thread because it is hella long, but here are some things that i know:

    The French 'artist' is indeed Fraggonard, i'm not sure how to spell it and i once knew a good french website about his works in the Paris Museum of Anatomy, which translates reasonably well into English with most online translators. It sadly dissappeared. It is difficult to search for his name since a) i have forgotten it & b) it is the same as that of another French artist. I found it quite fascinating, at the same time horrifying. I didn't know about the person on the horse being his fiance, thank you for that! And I never saw any glass eyes either, but then again the graphics were quite small.

    More recently, Gunter Von Hagens, a scientist and 'pioneer' of Plastination, has been doing similar things. He has been accused of exhibiting the preserved corpses like a display of art. I think he would agree that the human body is a beautiful thing but that this is primarily for learning. He has also been accused of 'ripping off' Fraggonard, by not inventing plastination, merely developing it with modern technology, plastics etc. But most of all, because of his horseman. His works include a plastinated man riding a plastinated horse. Suspiciously similar.
    http://www.koerperwelten.com/
    http://www.plastination.com/

    I found out abour Von Hagen's work first. It seems Fraggonard has been brushed under the carpet and Von Hagens is getting the credit.
    PS. I am also relatively scared of corpses, but these ones seemed to fascinate me because they looked how they should. They showed how the body works.


By eri on Thursday, March 7, 2002 - 11:11 pm:

    I have seen some corpse art. Don't even dream of knowing the artist. I am torn. It is beautiful in the structure, but on the same token EEEEEWWWWW! Haven't looked into it since. Right now I am looking for some contemporary abstract art.


By Juan on Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 05:14 pm:


By Deranged on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 01:29 pm:

    discovery channel in 2002 had a special now its 2004 however theres a site about this type of museum it is www.collphyphil.org


By Agent D on Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 11:56 pm:

    I am a virgin,but jerk off a lot


By Agent D on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 01:09 am:

    Whoever posted as AgentD on Tue,Dec 7 ,wasn't real Agent D, Some jerk they are!


By wisper on Friday, December 10, 2004 - 10:54 pm:

    thanks for the update. I stayed up all night wondering if it was really you or not, for you see, i hang on your every goddamn word.


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