CHURCH leaders have never been happy with the works of controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens – and his latest exhibition in Berlin, Cycle of Life – has upset them even further, according to the Guardian.
For it features a couple of cadavers in full coital mode.
When von Hagens took his earlier Body Worlds exhibition to Manchester in February 2008, Anglican bishop Nigel McCulloch was reported here as saying:
My concern is that the bodies of people who have lived lives, some of whom, I suspect, with quite a bit of suffering, are simply being used effectively for a kind of freaky horror show.
What he’d make of von Hagen’s latest copulating corpses exhibit is anyone’s guess.
The Berlin show, which opened on Thursday, has already drawn fire from a cross-party group of politicians and the church. They have called for the work to be withdrawn, saying it is pornographic and an insult to the dead.
Alice StrÃ¶ver, an MP for the Green party, said:
This couple is simply over the top, and it shouldn’t be shown.
Fritz Felgentreu an MP for the Social Democrats, added:
Love and death are obvious topics for art, but I find it quite disgusting to use them in this way.
But von Hagens defended the exhibit, saying that it combines the two greatest taboos of sex and death, and is a lesson in biology. It is “not meant to be sexually stimulating”.
The man and woman consented to appear in a sexual pose, Von Hagens said.
But Mediawatchwatch points out that:
Von Hagens has admitted that they had never met in life. This is casual corpse sex, people! No wonder the churches are upset.
Von Hagens developed his plastination method for preserving bodies several years ago after discovering a method for preserving bodies by replacing their fat and water deposits with injections of silicon, which then harden.
His popular exhibitions, which have travelled the world, have included corpses playing chess, high jumping, and horse riding. Others have shown a dead pregnant woman and foetuses at various stages of development.
In 1983, Catholic Church figures, according to this report, asked von Hagens to plastinate the heel bone of St Hildegard of Bingen, (1090-1179), a beatified mystic, theologian, and writer revered in Germany.
His later offer to perform plastination on Pope John Paul II foundered before any serious discussions could take place.