Nell Tenhaaf

In Vitro (the perfect wound)

1991

"the split: ancient, irreparable selection: silent, irreversible the wound: invisible, silent, perfect" This piece refers to two "miraculous" events from science and religion: in vitro fertilization and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some of the laboratory bottles contain fragmentary depictions of the wounded body of Christ from Renaissance paintings, while others contain the X and Y chromosomes that control genetic makeup. The numbered images refer to the 23 chromosomes that carry DNA, with one number repeated to represent the one chromosome that determines both sexes. Tenhaaf suggests that these stories of miraculous transcendence of the natural limits of the human body cannot be viewed uncritically by women, whose bodies, from the feminist perspective, are inscribed by the patriarchal discourses of science and religion.

Artist
Title
In Vitro (the perfect wound)
Date
1991
Medium
Photograph
Materials
4 fluorescent lightboxes with 24 colour transparencies (Duratrans), plexiglas
Dimensions
153.8 x 125.8 x 20.2 cm (overall)
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 1998
Accession number
39685.1-4