Merging art and medicine, The Heart of The Matter is an evocative new exhibition reflecting on the complex nature of the human heart. Conceived by British artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at Bristol Heart Institute, artworks are inspired by patients with congenital heart conditions, their families and clinicians.
The anatomy of the heart and the medical language used to describe it are explored and reinterpreted through 3D printed heart models, printed textile diagrams and sound installations, while immersive installations and sculptural forms explore allegorical conceptions of the heart and patient experiences of cardiac care.
Highlights include Making the Invisible Visible and Blueprints, which share a fascination with the the heart as a sculptural form and the rich intricacy of its design; The Bud, a delicate and beautiful interpretation of anatomical terms like “aortic root” and “branching vessels”, and Rubik’s Heart I and II, which see the complexity of cardiovascular anatomy as a puzzle that does not quite fit back together.
Large-scale digital animation Flow conveys patients' narratives using the visual language of advanced medical imaging, whilst Soldier Heart, a moving image captured inside an anatomical heart model, symbolises resilience and fight – the heart after surgery proudly bearing scars, like a soldier who has returned from a battle.
The artworks reflect on how personal, unique and precious everybody’s heart is to them, offering insight into the heart’s beauty, fragility and resilience, using scientific and artistic methods.
“The Heart of the Matter has been the most extraordinary personal and artistic journey,” says Sofie Layton. “Working with patients, parents, scientists and clinicians in a workshop setting, I have listened to people’s stories of their heart and in some circumstances, I have watched them discover what their own or their child’s heart looks like. To literally hold your own heart model in your hands, to discover its form and size, is transformative.”
The Heart of the Matter is on view at Copeland Gallery, London until 11 November. For more information about the exhibition, visit insidetheheart.org.