Asclepieia




The exhibition Asclepieia is built around the idea of the ancient health temples honouring Asclepius the god of medicine. The project looks at how the belief of the four humours extends into the 21st century and how historical body ideas live on alongside with medicine and science, where they intertwine and create new contemporary myths about an optimizable body. Together the works create a contemporary health temple based on current aesthetic surrounding medicine and wellness.

"Such as the food is, such is the blood: and such as the blood is, such is the flesh," writes Thomas Coghan in 1584 in the book The Haven of Health. It describes how the body, its four humours and health are affected by different foods and how it can be used to create equilibrium. The book originated during a time when medicine was characterized by humourism: a doctrine where the body until modern medicine's breakthrough was an epidermal sac with a liquid content in need of constant balancing, a vessel for the four elements. Yellow bile, black bile, blood and mucus gathered inside a bodily landscape that interchangeably suffered from drought, cold, heat and humidity.

The sculptures are treated as anatomical models: artificial bodies consisting of various simulated organs in different shapes and materials, an attempt to explain an intricate system of tissue and fluids. The works consist of ceramic vessels and armour, polished steel structures, plants and organs in blown glass, casted silicon, and textiles.

Review of the exhibition by Brynhild Winther in Kunsthåndverk

Documentation: Bjarte Bjørkum