Not for the squeamish: Bodily fluids into art and… food

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Published:  September 1, 2015
Maggie Hellyer

In case you didn’t know already, Pentagram designer Harry Pearce has used his own blood to create imagery for a poster titled It’s all our blood, in reference to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The poster will be on display at the Questioning the Bomb exhibition, which will launch next month at the University of Maryland in the US. The concept behind the use of his own blood is a moral one as Harry puts it, “The title comes from my belief that what we do to others we are really doing to ourselves, and Damocles’ Sword still hangs firmly over all our heads”.
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The recent buzz around Harry’s poster led us to wonder here at the desktop office – are there other projects out there that incorporate bodily fluids?

I must admit that this question spurred on a bit of a Google frenzy that left me partially nauseated yet still intrigued. After reading about numerous projects which involved anything from urine to even a panda bear’s faeces, we compiled a short list on some other… interesting projects.

'Self' 2001. Image courtesy of Marc Quinn

‘Self’ 2001. Image courtesy of Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn is an artist who favours exploring the relationship between art and science. Nothing could be better exemplified than in his 2001 self-portrait, that saw him extract around 4.5 litres of his own blood over the course of five months. He then froze it all to create haemoglobin head titled ‘Self’, which is quite literally a frozen head of blood that resembled his face.

Polpette al Grasso di Marco. Image courtesy of evaristti.com

Polpette al Grasso di Marco. Image courtesy of evaristti.com

Artist and architect Marco Evaristti surprised his dinner guests in 2006 when he served them some pasta and meatballs that had been produced and cooked using his own body fat. Prior to this particular dinner party, Marco had undergone liposuction in order to extract his particular ingredient. The left over meatballs were placed in tins and put on display at an art gallery with the friendly option for anyone perusing to purchase some of their own Polpette al Grasso di Marco, (Meatballs in the Fat of Marco). Marco maintains that his intent for his cooking endeavour was to provoke discussion about human consumption, cannibalism and the cyclical nature of eating.

Image courtesy of martinvonostrowski.com

Image courtesy of martinvonostrowski.com

Martin von Ostrowski is a German artist who painted a portrait of Hitler using his own faeces. The painting, which was produced in 2000, was the first of many pieces produced by the artist using his body ejections as a medium. These days Ostrowski prefers semen to faeces and has created self-portraits with his very own brand of organic material. Ostrowski describes his work as aggressive romanticism.

Image courtesy of damienhirst.com

Image courtesy of damienhirst.com

And of course, there’s Damien Hirst, a British artist who is well known for constructing sculptures out of medicine cabinets, formaldehyde, and animal carcasses. One of the most gruesome of his series of sculptures is ‘Out of Sight. Out of Mind’, which is an already partially decomposed cows head frozen in time in its formaldehyde confinement. These days Damien has stopped sticking dead animals in glass containers however he is still putting them on display. One of my personal favourites, ‘The Child’s Dream’, (a dead unicorn), has recently been put on display at Banksy’s ‘bemusement’ park, Dismaland, which opened last week.

That was all we could stomach for now. Have you heard of or seen any other bizarre projects like the above?

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