Ever pushing public taste and human dignity to the limit, the controversial German body artist Gunther von Hagens features a copulating couple in his latest exhibit, "The Cycle of Life". It opened in Berlin this week. In answer to the fury of critics, he says it combines the two greatest taboos of sex and death and is a lesson in biology. "It has nothing to do with pornography and isn't intended to be sexually stimulating!"
Politicians of every stripe and religious groups have still objected, calling the exhibit pornographic and an insult to the dead. However, Von Hagens says that the man and woman gave their consent to be exhibited in this pose. He claims that two-thirds of the males who donated their bodies to his company and one-third of the females agreed to the use of their bodies for the representation of sexual acts.
Von Hagens is a German doctor and anatomist who has developed a technique of "plastinating" bodies by replacing water and fat with silicon. He now has a company, Body Worlds, and an exhibit which tours the world. His technicians flay the bodies so that organs and muscles are visible and then they arrange them in various poses, including corpses playing chess, high jumping, and horse riding. Depicting sex was a logical step forward.
In a press release, von Hagens said, "the older I get, the more I realize that death is normal -- and that life is the big exception. I hope that Body Worlds and 'The Cycle of Life' gives people the courage to strive to live every day healthily -- their whole life long." ~ Der Spiegel, May 5
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