Shock art: corpse exhibition

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It’s quiet in the exhibition space – everyone is whispering, almost as if to pay their respects to the flayed dead who are being shown to the world.

Yes, I’m at the headline-making anatomy exhibition of specially preserved human bodies in Cape Town.

There was much controversy in Germany 35 years ago when Dr Gunther von Hagens started preserving bodies with liquid plastic, but since then 35 million people in 70 countries have seen his rare collection, titled Body Worlds and the Cycle of Life.

Now it’s South Africa’s turn to see these skinned humans up close. It’s a creepy idea: a collection of more than 200 bodies or body parts that were once real people. I’m expecting something straight out of the morgue in the TV series CSI.

But the dead are so stylishly rendered I’m reminded more of artworks. It makes you think quite differently about human anatomy.

Read more of Haidee Muller’s article in YOU 15 November 2012.

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