The art of anatomyOctober 16, 2012 Adult events at our Museums, Blogs, Dissection and Resurrection Men, Events, Special events
By Geoffrey Harrison, artist-in-residence at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Pathology Museum and Galleries
I’ve been influenced by medicine and anatomy all my life. Both my parents were medical illustrators and my childhood was spent surrounded by specimens of one sort or another.
I’m really lucky to have been able to access the collection at St Bart’s Pathology Museum and have spent many happy hours drawing there. While it began as an important teaching resource, the museum collection is now an artifact documenting medical and pathological procedure, and also, since many of the specimens were collected locally, provides an important social record.
The series of drawings and paintings I’ve been working on is inspired by the anatomical drawings and practice of historical artists who investigated the structural support of the human body, from Leonardo Da Vinci through to Thomas Godart, (whose illustration can be seen at the Pathology Museum).
I’m really interested in the idea that an organism can be self-reflecting or self-creating and so I draw organs or body parts that connect in unexpected ways, or loop back on themselves like a Möbius strip. I happened upon the term ‘Autopoiesis’ meaning ‘self-creation’ (Greek: Auto “self”; and Poiesis “creation or production”), which seemed to really chime with some of the paradoxical intestinal loop drawings I do, and set me off looking for other things to connect up.
I’m really looking forward to running the workshop at the Museum of London late on 31 October. It’s a great way to take a light-hearted look at anatomy and art and I’m hoping to be able to talk to lots of people about my work.
Geoffrey Harrison is the Artist in Residence at St Bart’s Pathology Museum and will be running a Halloween card-making sessions, based on his anatomical illustrations, at the Doctors and Dissection late on Halloween at the Museum of London.