Thursday, March 4, 2010

Visceral Bodies and Leonardo da Vinci, The Mechanics of Man

So for the full two weeks of the Olympics the Vancouver Art Gallery was giving free admittance to their exhibits. Two of these exhibits included one entitled Visceral Bodies and the Other was a collection of piece called The Mechanics of Man by Leonardo da Vinci.

I had been wanting to go to the exhibits the entirety of the 2010 Olympic games but the lineups for the entrance were completely ridiculous. I figured that I would wait until the craziness of the Olympics died down, and the tourist made their way back home. Good idea, because the gallery was a tad busy but there were times when I was looking at some of the pieces alone. I really enjoyed the being alone with the art and words part. It gives you a better perspective of the piece and your brain can think about it and take it all in without any external noise.

I chose to see the Visceral Body exhibit first. This is mainly because I was more interested in The Mechanics of Man exhibit. However I was amazed at the abstract way some of the artists perceive the human body.


First let me give you a run down on the Visceral Body exhibit. The pieces were a collection made up of many different artists. Some of the exhibit I loved because it was the artists interpretation on where technology is taking the body? It makes you think and see through the artists eyes how we are changing the human body with engineering, prosthetic, pharmaceuticals, and transplants. Some of the pieces make you think about what are the social impacts of medicine and technology? How do we perceive each other based on gender alone? What if a man was to be pregnant?  What kind of hybrid human body are we creating for the future? ARE WE ALTERING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN?  


I think that one of my favorite pieces from this exhibit was called "Deep Throat."  I know that you are thinking dirty but don't. This piece shows a table and chair setting, complete with a fork, knife and plate. However, when you look onto the plate you can see the throat of a human via a video screen on the plate. It's pretty interesting to think about what happens once you swallow your food.

I also enjoyed some wax interpretations of decaying human limbs. Very interesting and accurate looking.

After taking some time viewing all of the pieces of the Visceral Body exhibit I decided it was time to move on to The Mechanics of Man. To take a look how the interpretation of the human body was before the modern day interpretation of where we are and where we are going with it.

The exhibit is pretty impressive because according to the Vancouver Art Gallery says that the works are graciously loaned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from The Royal Collection, Windsor.


 

As we all know Leonardo was a man well before his time in his thinking. He created a lot of experiments and was continually creating inventions. He was also a great artist. Da Vinci’s group of drawings, referred to as the Anatomical Manuscript A. It concentrates on the structures of the body and the movements of musculature as well. 

 

Apparently the exhibit here in Vancouver is the first time that it has ever been shown for the first time as a complete group. The art galleries site says that "The Manuscript A includes 34 of Leonardo’s pen and ink anatomical drawings on eighteen sheets of paper, rendered during the winter of 1510-1511. Included are the first known accurate depictions of the spinal column and two magisterial sheets depicting the musculature of the lower legs and feet."

I'll tell you one thing. This exhibit was astounding and inspiring. It made me want to go home and brush up on my anatomy. It also motivated me because it made me think that Da Vinci was so ahead of his time in searching for what the human body was in its entirety. He had to have been ridiculously driven to create and be so determined  to create such great works. This makes me want to aspire more for myself. It reminded me that anything is possible. Also one of the quotes on the wall of the exhibit read Nosce te Ipsum - which means "know oneself" --- This is sooooo true. Not only should you know yourself on the outside but on the inside....mentally and physically. I also now want this saying as a tattoo.

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