Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sick Rose

I bought a book recently, The Sick Rose or: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration, and it's pretty much the best thing I own now. It's a collection of rare medical illustrations that pre-date photography, so back when this was the only way to catalogue symptoms and afflictions. It's pretty gruesome but also strangely beautiful and the detail in each illustration is stunning. Because the drawings and paintings are for scientific study you would think that they would be lacking in any sort of style or artistic flourish, but it's interesting to see that within this anatomical frame whoever was creating the work either with intent or otherwise has included some form of character. They aren't photorealistic interpretations, some of each artist has bled through into the work. It reminds me of the botanical illustrations we were shown in a lecture once where different artists would be copying directly from the same book and end up with 6 plants which were technically the same but yet totally unique, like Chinese whispers.

The book opens with this page which really caught my attention, now I realised it reminds me of a piece of work I did for my Yoko Ono biography last year where flower petals transformed into piano keys. 

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