The Anatomy Lesson

by Sonja van Kerkhoff, 1999

Painted Object by Sonja van Kerkhoff
The Anatomy Lesson, acrylic on child's shirt, 1999

This work, a gestural painting of interlocked fingers on the inside of a child's shirt touches on themes of the hidden or revealed. It could be human emotional states, our fears or our desires.

The child's shirt, adds a sense of innocence and lightheartedness (the bright cartoon patterns and "cute" buttons). But I used the child's shirt also because it is an outgrown piece of clothing, just as the hands seem to have outgrown the body in the painting.

It is obvious that the shirt has been well worn but it is not worn out. Just as modernity has been well worn and now is too small, postmodernity doesn't imply that our past (history) is worn out (destroyed).

Over the last 10 ten years I have often used images of overgrown interlocked hands as expressions for attempts at control or lack of control where they often seemed more like lifeless gloves. In this work, the hands seem more relaxed as if it is OK for me to reveal myself and my children's outgrown clothing.

The title alludes to Rembrandt's painting of the same name, which is an ode to science. My painting-hanging on the other hand is an ode to the human spirit (in our postmodern age).

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