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Freeze-dried Sculptures

In an attempt to solve a holographic technical problem, I studied freeze-drying techniques. I quickly realized that freeze-drying could be a sculptural technique onto itself. However, unlike most artistic media, this one was frought with ethical problems. As a result, I decided to make sculptures which openly talked about the problem of using dead animals (including humans) as art supplies. All of my materials were legally purchased or obtained from legitimate businesses.

human uterus attached to purchase invoices

I Own a Uterus with a Paint Job

At the center of this wall mounted display, is a freeze-dried human uterus. It is pinned to copies of the catalogue page I ordered it from, my purchase receipt and the signed customs forms I used to import it into Canada. After freeze-drying it, I used it to practice masking, painting, sawing, sanding, and drilling freeze-dried tissues. I discovered that freeze-dried tissues are as easy to work with as balsa wood.

This piece was exhibited for the first time in September 1982 at the Unit/Pitt Gallery.

Mother and Child

When pregnant pigs are slaughered, their unborn piglets are harvested and sold to biological supply companies. These companies preserve the the fetuses and then sell them to schools for dissection studies. I bought a preserved fetus from one of these companies, dissected it, freeze-dried it and arranged it in a frying pan filled with lard and strips of fried bacon.

In 1984, this sculpture was displayed in Cuts Gallery in London's Kensington Church Street.

dissected piglet in bacon fat

Foetus Earrings Fetus Ear-rings

Foetus Ear-rings

I was given the two preserved human foetuses by a British anatomy professor. He told me that they had been preserved in formaldehyde twenty years ago but the liquid had evaporated so that the fetuses had dried out and shriveled.

Using a variety of techniques, I re-hydrated the specimens, freeze-dried them and turned them into a pair of foetus earrings.

They were exhibited at the Young Unknowns Gallery for less than a day in December 1987. Rumours have it that they are currently in the collection of Scotland Yard's Black Museum in London, England.

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