Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Bodyworlds, the anatomical exhibition of preserved human corpses organised by Gunther von Hagens, has been touring the world for the past twelve years. Famously, when the exhibition came to London in 2002, von Hagens performed a public autopsy which was later televised.

This year, two corpses posed in mid-coitus were added to the exhibition, though they had to be removed before the exhibition was shown in Cologne (Germany), Augsburg (Germany), and Zurich (Switzerland). (A Bodyworlds imitator, Our Body, was banned in France earlier this year.)

2 comment(s):

Robert J.E. Simpson said...

Saw this in London over the summer at the O2.

The coital images are odd. They had a partly screened off room separate from the main exhibition and weren't letting minors in.

The full bodies in the act are compelling viewing, but perhaps distasteful to many. There's also a section of bodies which is so removed from what we recognise physically as to be completely missed by many of the people who I was in with.

I gather there are some questions about the permission procedures of some of the bodies used in the exhibitions, which might be appropriate reason to remove parts of the show - I can't imagine they ever thought they'd end up in permanent coitus after plastination!

Matthew Hunt said...

Robert, thanks for your comment. I saw the exhibition in 2002, before the new additions. As art, I think it's fascinating and borderline immoral, though I can't see how posing the figures (including the coital poses) makes the exhibition more educational.