Results tagged “Wellcome Collection”
Photo by Gemma Angel
There's a great interview in HuffPo UK -- entitled "Unlocking The Mysteries Of The Tattoos Of The Dead" -- with Gemma Angel, a tattooist and PhD student who studies the preserved tattoo skins of the Wellcome Collection, a London museum that houses an array of medial artifacts. [We wrote about Wellcome before here.]
In the Q&A, Gemma discusses her favorite preserved work (a large chest piece), her efforts finding who were the people behind the skins, and also who were those collecting these skins. There's a great quote related to the latter:
I think these collectors knew they were doing something that was a bit dodgy. I've come across references to one or two scandals which came about as a result of particular doctors harvesting and preserving tattoos - you might keep a pathological specimen from a human body for a teaching aid for medical students, but can you really justify keeping a tattoo? It seems there's some aspect fetishisation involved, of the tattooed image, and the skin itself. It's complicated, and I don't know if I'll ever get to the bottom of it, but I've got some time yet.
Through the article, I found Gemma's own personal site brilliantly titled Life and Six Months, based on this Sam Steward quote: "With some grim humour I always answered the question about how long a tattoo would last by saying: 'They are guaranteed for life - and six months'."
Check her site and see more photos of the tattooed flesh in the HuffPo piece.
The Wellcome Collection in London describes itself as "a free visitor destination for the incurably curious," which of course made me curious, incurably so.
Founder Sir Henry Wellcome was a pretty curious dude himself, fascinated by the intersection of medicine and health, business and marketing, philanthropy, culture and art. Wellcome collected over a million objects, including manuscripts, carvings, posters, images and a number of body art artifacts like the preserved tattooed skin above, taken off an executed criminal around 1850-1900.
From June 10th to September 26th, The Wellcome Collection presents an exhibition devoted entirely to the largest human organ. Simply entitled Skin, the exhibition delves into "the changing importance of skin, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration."
The show includes image galleries, video, a Skin Lab that looks at developments in skin science (including bio-jewelry and clothing), and essays by Javier Moscoso, and by Katie Kitamura--sister to Horitaka of State of Grace and author of The Longshot: A Novel.
The tattoo portion involves a design competition where the winning artwork will be tattooed live onto Caisa Ederyd (pictured below) at the "Tattoos: Marks of meaning" event on July 22nd.
Don't Panic offers full detail on the competition and the sweet prizes for the winner. Here's just a taste to give you an idea:
"One of the aspects we are interested in is looking at peeling back the layers of skin to discover what's beneath--let your imagination run wild with the anatomical workings of your body. Organs, dissections, skeletons, guts, nerves bundles, veins--get your thinking caps on to illustrate what's beneath our skin and display the internal on the external.
They have an "Inspiration Image Gallery," which includes an exploded thorax. Cool.
As for those sweet prizes, they include £100 cash, a free tattoo by a tattooist from London's Good Times, their artwork on 60K posters, and a year's free membership of the Wellcome Collection Club.
Check out some of the entries already submitted. Good stuff. The competition closes on Friday, June 25th.
PS: Beyond the physical exhibit and competition, I suggest you check out the online library, which offers so many interesting images and info that will satisfy your curiosity of the body. I mean, bodies in general.