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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6 Responses to “Memento vita [self portrait with cortex exposed] (2006)”

  1. September 15th, 2006 | 10:50 am

    Et in Arcadia ego.

  2. September 15th, 2006 | 10:57 am

    [...] My friend shardcore has recently painted a picture inspired by a MRI scan “Memento vita [self portrait with cortex exposed]” – which I found very intriguing. [...]

  3. September 15th, 2006 | 1:03 pm

    Is there a story behind the MRI scan?

  4. September 15th, 2006 | 1:09 pm

    I’ve been inside the scanner a few times for various experiments. However, this last time I asked if I could have a copy of my head to keep. Nothing sinister, and no structural abnormalities observed…It is quite fun poking about the inside of your own head – I’ll post a ‘fly through’ video later…

  5. September 16th, 2006 | 11:36 am

    I’d like to convert that data into a quake level, form a counter-strike team of radical X-tians and try to convert your scientific ass. The gods’ next battle for mankind should be fought inside your head.

  6. September 21st, 2007 | 12:35 pm

    [...] US magazine Oxford American have chosen to use my self portrait Mememento Vita to accompany an article on brain [...]

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