Memento vita [self portrait with cortex exposed] (2006)

self portrait with cortex exposed

acrylic on canvas 510mm x 510mm

I’ve had the data from an experimental MRI scan of my head for a while, and this is the second piece of work inspired by it. I am fascinated by the extension to perception offered by technology, and am always astonished by the ability to ‘look inside’ a body without dissecting it, even more so when it’s my own. I’ve obviously painted the outside of myself a number of times before, but this is the first time I’ve looked below the surface.

Part of the motivation was in consideration of memento mori as a theme. The idea of painting skulls and other symbols of death, to remind the viewer of their own mortality has been around forever, however here I get to consider the contents of my skull and all that it entails for the embodiment of the self, prior to death. Science lets us do this.

Strangely, I found the process of painting my own brain quite affecting, and more disturbing than I expected.

UPDATE here’s a ‘fly through’ of my head, left ear to right:

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