Views & Reviews Exhibition Review

The art of being human

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 08 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3595
  1. Colin Martin, independent consultant in healthcare communication, London
  1. cmpubrel{at}

This sculptural installation, which presents the human form, takes its inspiration from an earlier anatomical work, writes Colin Martin

A plaster man falls towards the ground. His facial expression is enigmatic; his partially open mouth could be smiling or grimacing, his unseeing gaze is fixed somewhere beyond the viewer, rather than focused and engaged. A second plaster man looks upward, his awkwardly crooked neck and arched back evoking the dead body of Christ in Michelangelo’s carved marble Pietà (1499), although this plaster man is not cradled in the arms of a loving mother.

Both figures are partially flayed, exposing the musculature of their right breast and shoulder. They are on display in a large, white, sunlight flooded, room in north London. The parquet floor is diagonally bisected by a plaster stiffened swag of white fabric, …

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