A Complex Beauty is an artistic engagement with disease and medical science, bringing together new works with artefacts from medicine’s past. In her hands, pathological specimens cast off their museum identities and become once again vibrant material with a past and a ghostly afterlife.
The works in the exhibition are an outcome of a residency by Black at the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at The University of Melbourne.
Black lifts the shroud of the skin to reveal a hidden, internal, anatomical world, reserved primarily for health professionals. The fine detail and artful skill of her beautiful artworks are anatomically insightful and explore the fine line between life, death and identity.
Art, Medicine and the Body
The Latin term Memento Mori means ‘remember you will die’.
While artist Lauren Black is well-known for her detailed botanical work, in this exhibition she departs from her usual themes to examine the body, juxtaposing detailed anatomical drawings of human diseases with artworks inspired by traditional Chinese medicine.
Black worked closely with diseased human remains from the R. A. Rodda Museum of Pathology at the University of Tasmania, and undertook an arts residency in Penang, Malaysia, which allowed her to develop a body of work around Chinese herbal medicine.
The exhibition brings together two very different ways of observing the body and approaching human health, allowing for reflection on the fragility of life and the inevitability of death.