The best way to find out what holds the world together at its very core is to cut it open. Cathedrals, skulls, the hulls of ships, the circles of hell, volcanoes, blossoms, caterpillars or even entire mountain chains – nothing and nobody can escape the exploring cut. Be it a cross section or a longitudinal section, the most important thing is that it runs right through the middle. The world opened up in this way is presented as images, models or at the object of curiosity itself.
The exhibition shows how the cross section functions as a visual principle of insight. It is presented as a versatile and effective method of visual communication, be it in medicine, architecture, biology or geology. The works in the exhibition tell an exemplary story of the symbiotic relationship between art and science. While scientific researchers adopt many of the established methods, techniques and compositional strategies of art in order to visualize their findings, artists, in turn, appropriate the specific visual syntax of the sciences in a way that at times seems to verge on expropriation.
The method of obtaining certainty about invisible inner worlds by cutting clearly through it, not only connects art and science, but also very different epochs. The exhibition shows cross-sections from the 15th century to the present. Not all of them come from the Graphische Sammlung: important loans from a total of eight different ETH collections and archives enter into a dialogue with them.
Audio files for selected works can be accessed via a QR code, which are spoken by the curators of the collections and archives or by the artists themselves.
Curator: Dr. Susanne Pollack