Fondazione Prada and David Cronenberg Join Forces on 'Anatomical Waxes'

A new exhibition that sparks unexpected dialogues between a historical collection and a contemporary institution.

Art
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Research has always played a central role in the exhibitions at Fondazione Prada — from Human Brains to Recycling Beauty. The latest endeavor follows suit and is an eerie but nonetheless gripping exploration into anatomy, history and art. Made in collaboration with Florence’s La Specola, one of Europe’s oldest science museums, alongside Canadian director and screenwriter David Cronenberg, Anatomical Waxes is a two-part exhibition that seeks to offer new and unexpected interpretations of cultural heritage, by sparking a dialogue between a historical collection and a contemporary figure or institution.

The show comprises of thirteen 18th century wax models from the Florentine museum, as well as 72 anatomical drawings in nine showcases. Amongst the work on view, the so-called “Venus”, a rare ceroplastic model made by 17th century Italian sculptor Gaetano Giulio Zumbo, is arguably the centerpiece of the exhibition and is historically revered for its detachable parts and hyperrealistic take on beauty.

Creative agency Random Studio assisted in presenting two interpretations to the work on view. On the first floor of the Podium, the wax models are shown in line with a typical museum presentation. Whereas, on the ground floor, Cronenberg recontexualizes the same figures as protagonists in an original short film entitled Four Unloved Women, Adrift on a Purposeless Sea, Experience the Ecstasy of Dissection.

Cronenberg explained further:

“The wax figures of the Specola were created primarily as a didactic tool, capable of revealing the mysteries of the human body to those who could not access the rare anatomical lessons with real cadavers held in universities and hospitals. In their attempt to create partially dissected whole figures, whose body language and facial expressions did not show pain or agony and did not suggest torture, punishment or surgery, the sculptors ended up producing living characters seemingly engulfed in ecstasy. It was this astonishing stylistic choice that captured my imagination: what if it was the dissection itself that had induced that tension, that almost religious rapture?”

“The museum and the artist propose to the public complementary visions. The result is at the same time an art exhibition, an anatomy lesson and a video about desire,” said Miuccia Prada in a statement on the show. Anatomical Waxes will be on view at Fondazione Prada’s flagship in Milan until July 17.

Elsewhere, we spotlight the theme of Arete for the latest Hypeart Project.

Fondazione Prada
L.go Isarco, 2
20139 Milano MI, Italy

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