January 21, 2016 – February 21, 2016

Public Reception: January 28, 2016 from 6PM-8PM

Through the lens of medicine, the body appears as a neatly organized system of discrete parts. The 12 organ system and its associated components give meaning, purpose and structure to the red mess of valves, fluids and palpitating tissues. In this way, medicine can be understood as a way of seeing the world.

Drawing too is a way of seeing the world – so often associated with the investigation of form, the creation and manipulation of lines, boundaries and structure. It would seem then no accident that the earliest applications of health science are concurrent with the practice of anatomical illustration – notably inaugurated in the work of the Roman Gladius Galenus, and realized to “modern” standards in the prints of the 15th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius [on view in Gallery 3G]  

In this new body of work presented here at the International Museum of Surgical Science, Pfeiffer + Walz utilize the strategies of quoting, sourcing, and bibliographing historic imagery from their own stock of references as well as from the Museum’s immense archive to parallel relationships between the formal aspects of drawing and the symbolic networks surrounding the surgically opened, cut, or recompiled body.

Pfeiffer + Walz combine the purely scientific and the art historical. Their references from the illustrated history of medicine are commingled with powerful female forms from classical mythology, consummating the primacy of womanhood in the esoteric traditions of Western culture and asserting a feminist perspective at the core of the work.

This exhibition marks the conclusion of Pfeiffer’s + Walz’s Residency at the Museum.

Ryan M Pfeiffer + Rebecca Walz are collaborators that live and work in Chicago. Drawing from their research into prehistoric & ancient art, historical erotica, and esoteric traditions, their works synthesize concerns about sex, death, myth, transformation, and alchemy. They view the act of collaboration as the dissolution of individual identities and union of oppositions as a new, harmonized whole.

Learn more about the artists here

This program partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency

Header Image: “Deterritorialization” (Detail), (2015)