Glimpses from the Surgical Amphitheater: A Series of Tintypes

Following in the footsteps of Fabricius ab Aquapendente’s anatomical amphitheater in Padua, Italy, in 1594, medical students were once taught how to perform surgeries by gazing down on operations in open aired oval amphitheaters. Surgeries became spectacles, surgeons performers, and the patients their props. Without any barrier between the doctors, the patients, and the audience, the less than sterile environments became intimate experiences where bodies were exposed and the viewers’ desire for knowledge satisfied. My tintypes reference this unorthodox past, while presenting the moments when skin is revealed. Seductive, yet protective, they stop short of any blade piercing through the skin. Private parts, gestures, and pieces are put on display. Despite aiming for composure and control, some things are out of our hands. We leave traces and our image simply exists.

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