Tag Archives: Edinburgh

The Body Beautiful


Surgeons’ Hall Museum, has always been an intriguing place for me and is, in fact, one of my favourite places in Edinburgh.  Tucked away in the Royal College of Surgeons’ Campus in Edinburgh, if  you have an interest in anatomy, surgery and the curiosities of the human body, you could do far worse than spend an hour or two exploring it’s many treasures.

During my final year at DJCAD the Museum was, and remains, an incredibly inspiring resource.  Originally founded in 1505, with its collections expanding rapidly after 1699 when the cultural  interest in natural curiosities blossomed.  It was originally intended to be a medical teaching resource and is home to three individual museums: Pathology;  the History of Surgery  and the Dental Museum.

Yes, it’s weird.  Yes, it’s wonderful.  But it’s also rather beautiful. When you walk through the Pathology Museum, one of the largest collections of pathological anatomy in the UK, you are confronted with shelves lined with jars containing   preserved slices and sections of medical abnormalities, diseases of tissue and bone and preserved examples of the effects of weaponry on the body some some of which date back more than 100 years. Given that so much of my own work was focused on the removal of body parts from their original context, the research opportunities and context afforded by Surgeon’s Hall was invaluable.

If you venture upstairs to the History of Surgery, you will find  Edinburgh’s special contribution to surgical practice in modern times. This gallery traces the key dates in Scotland’s surgical advances and focuses on key figures such as Syme and pre-anaesthesia surgery, Simpson and the discovery of chloroform as an anaesthetic; and Lister and the breakthrough discovery of antiseptic.

The collection in the Dental Museum is also amazing,  exploring the development of dentistry from its earliest days to modern times. Despite initially looking like a small exhibit, it’s jam-packed with a huge range of tools and equipment.

Add to this the range of lectures, events and artist’s workshops and you have an amazing resource for artists and designers alike.


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Alice B. Spicer – Another favourite from the ECA 2013 Degree Show

Alice B. Spicer

I just had to share some more of my favourite work from the ECA Degree Show.  This time it’s these fabulous paper-cuts from Alice B. Spicer

Alice B. Spicer

Alice B. Spicer

Alice B. Spicer

The ECA Degree Show will close on Sunday 9th June, make sure you don’t miss it 😉

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Work in progress from Mark Nicholas Edward

A work in progress by Edinburgh-based artist Mark Nicholas Edward.

Go forth and follow him on twitter: www.twitter.com/maqne

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I never really knew her

I got to spend a fun-filled day gallery hopping in Edinburgh earlier this week, you know, to broaden my appreciation of art and such like.

I must confess that I’m a cynical soul at heart and still frequently revert to my usual train of thought when traipsing around exhibitions: “just because you can make it, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should” …

However, after a day filled with cacti,  singing stairs and mutilated, re-imagined toys, one piece stayed with me.

It’s the first time I’ve encountered anything by Emma Woffenden before, and her sculpture “I never really knew her”, as part of the Jerwood Contemporary Makers exhibition at the Dovecot, really struck a chord with me.

Made from painted glass bottles, the sculpture poses a female model, legs spread suggestively, with a male figure kneeling above her.  The form is overtly sexual, the use of recycled materials implies repetition and the black paint, anonymity. It’s very simple, but striking.

And it got me thinking. Which is always a tad dangerous.  It could be interpreted as a comment on the anonymous nature of drunken sexual behaviour, the ability of alcohol to allow us to justify our base instincts (whether or not with regret is ambiguous), or of the endless repetition of acts that both ultimately alienate and isolate us.

Or it’s just a slightly disturbing piece of sculpture. Which I’ve been thinking about too much. Because I’m not drinking… Context is key. And without the alcohol…


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