A Voyage To Cythera, Berlin | Information
A Voyage to Cythera | The Berlin Medical Historical Museum, April 29 – September 09, 2012
First Aid Station | AANDO Fine Art Gallery, April 28 – June 29, 2012
Online Presentation HERE
Curator: Galit Eilat
The solo show A Voyage to Cythera by artist Aya Ben Ron (*1967 in Haifa, Israel), is a radical intervention in the collection of the Berlin Medical Historical Museum: framed by a sound installation and followed with texts and poems, several large-sized sculptures and video installations are temporarily integrated into the permanent collection of the museum. With this intervention the artist questions the experiences of hospital patients and, more specifically, grapples with the status and dignity of the specimens exhibited at the museum.
The main theme of Ben Ron’s project, which is named after Baudelaire’s poem, is the perception and representation of the body in art and medicine. Ben Ron transgresses the categorical boundaries of both disciplines. However, there is no pathological aestheticism or, despite an omnipresence of death and pain, no sentimental interpretation of the artist’s graphically reduced work. With emotional distance and a grim sense of humor, Aya Ben Ron explores medical routine to its greatest socio-historical extent.
Much like Baudelaire’s journey, Aya Ben Ron’s work takes viewers on a voyage that focuses on representations of the body in Western culture, and more specifically the representation of the internal organs. Ben Ron ties artistic representations of the body to its perception in modern Western medicine. The medical approach views and researches the body as a biological machine, with the brain as its operating system and the heart its processor. Likewise, the gallows (as in Baudelaire’s poem) severs the body from the brain, thus freeing the spirit from the body. While Baudelaire set forth seeking the path to beauty and subsequently saw his death, Ben Ron takes us on the reverse route. She starts by selecting several objects – body parts that are actually a series of test cases, enclosed in museum exhibit casings. These are testaments to subjects who lost one or more organs, being presented to the public for viewing in jars of formaldehyde or preserved using other methods.
Ben Ron then creates a viewing trail between the museum exhibits, a path guided by her own image wearing a nurse’s uniform. This winding passage was shaped with great care, using rhymes to tell the history of those exhibits Ben Ron chooses to linger on, the body parts neatly arranged in jars, boxes or frames along shelves, thus returning the memories lost when those organs were separated from their bodies and placed in the museum.
Aya Ben Ron has a multidisciplinary practice ranging from sculpture, video, drawing, photography, storytelling and site-specific installation, with which she intensively explores modern medicine and its impact on society and individuals.
First Aid Station at AANDO Fine Art Gallery
In the context of A Voyage to Cythera at the Berlin Medical Historical Museum – First Aid Station provides insight into the project’s background and features Aya Ben Ron’s newest work series. Video installations and coloured prints will be shown next to a series of metal sculptures, conceived from the artist book First Aid.
AANDO FINE ART | FIRST AID STATION