Exhibition "Gare du Nord" offers a new perspective on anatomical theatre

The oddly shaped de Waag building in Amsterdam is host to “Gare du Nord”, a collaboration that connects old and new perceptions of the human body.

New exhibition Gare du Nord is primarily a narrative construal of the human body, curated by Chiara Ianeselli and developed with Lucas Evers of de Waag Society, . It is a reflection on the carnal and metaphysical elements of the body.

Three artists – Nicola Samori, Laurent-David Garnier, and Sonja Bäumel – each interpreted a quote by 17th century Dutch polymath and humanist Caspar Barlaeus (which is written along the walls of the theatre) in their own artistic ways. The pieces the artists will be exhibiting in Gare du Nord are all new and completely site-specific.

Amsterdam’s historical Theatrum Anatomicum in the de Waag building was chosen for the exhibition’s location for its unusual hexagonal shape, designed in the seventeenth century specifically to be used as anatomical theatre, as it allowed patrons all around an unobstructed view of body dissections and other particulars .

Gare du Nord attempts to respect the contemporary practices of the de Waag building while invoking a sense of its past. The history of anatomical theatre and its medical practices are drawn into the present through interactions that encourage visitors to form new perceptions of the human form and technology.

Samori, who represented Italy at the 56th Biennale, extends the idea of an anatomical theatre to include the notion of the dissected body rising up from the table and absorbing the identities of its observers. Garnier offers the viewer a new perspective with the use of a kaleidoscope that captures light particles. Bäumel exposes the viewer to past, present and future realms that are inextricably tied to us.

“Gare du Nord” opens at 6pm on 16 July until 16 August 2015 in de Waag building in Amsterdam.