Van Gogh's 'living' ear exhibited at German museum
The ear was 3D-printed using DNA from the great-grandson of the Dutch artist's brother
A ‘living’ replica of Vincent van Gogh’s ear, re-built using body cells provided by a member of the late artist’s family, has gone on display at a German museum.
Artist Diemut Strebe constructed the work called Sugababe using genetic material donated by Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-grandson of the Dutch artist's brother, Theo, according to the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.
The artist used a 3D-printer to re-create the ear that Vincent van Gogh is said to have cut off during a psychotic episode in 1888.
“I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint,” Strebe told reporters on Tuesday.
Visitors to the exhibit will be able to speak to the ear through a microphone connected to a computer processor which will simulate nerve impulses, according to the artists’ website.
American philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky was the first to talk to the ear.
A visitor takes pictures of a self-portrait by Dutch painter van Gogh, showing his bandaged head where his ear used to be, at an exhibition in Tel Aviv, Israel. The US-based artist explained that she grew the ear at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, in the US state of Massachusetts.
The specimen is being kept alive inside a case of nourishing liquid, in which it could theoretically last for years, she added.
Persuading Liuewe van Gogh to partake in the project was easy, said Strebe, adding: “He loved the project right away.”
Lieuwe and Vincent van Gogh share about 1/16th of the same genes, including the Y-chromosome that is passed down the male lineage.
Strebe had hoped to use DNA taken from an envelope believed to have been used by the post-Impressionist artist, but it soon became clear the genetic material belonged to someone else.
"The postman messed it up," Strebe joked.
Undeterred, Strebe is now working with a female relative of van Gogh in order to include mitochondrial DNA — passed down the mother's line — for future installations.
In a separate ongoing project, the self-styled bio-artist will test the neutrality of 20 scientists by putting litmus-paper in their mouths. Participants have so far included Noam Chomsky, and Nobel Prize winner Martin Chalfie.
The exhibition runs until 6 July. Strebe said she plans to display the ear in New York next year.
Additional reporting by AP
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Glastonbury 2015 registration: How to get tickets for next year's festival
Kylie Minogue Kiss Me Once tour, London O2 - review: Pop princess still reigns supreme
Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican named highest-selling female comedians
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >