TULP: the body public





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Published on Oct 26, 2009

ELISION Ensemble:
Collaborative work by visual artist Justine Cooper and composer John Rodgers. In 1632 the executed body of a convicted thief was dissected by Dr Nicolaes Tulp, an act graphically recorded in the Rembrandt painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp. This painting, where medicine and the visual arts so dramatically intersected, has provided the inspiration for TULP-the body public, a fascinating multi-media exploration of the human body, the music of the baroque and contemporary improvisation.

Interviews in Brisbane and New York, and the installation of a booth equipped with an ultrasound machine at the Art Gallery of New South Wales enabled artist Justine Cooper and composer John Rodgers to talk with the general public, whose stories, sampled body sounds and images then formed the basis of this intriguing work.

Like the painting, TULP-the body public, occupies a territory somewhere between medicine art, and like the story that so fascinated Rembrandt in baroque Amsterdam, the humour, tragedy, curiosity, remembrance,and pathos of what it is to be human in contemporary Western society fills the canvas of this production.

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