Body Worlds anatomists plan show dedicated to sex

Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:18am EDT
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By Jason Rhodes

ZURICH (Reuters Life!) - The German anatomists behind the Body Worlds exhibitions that display preserved cadavers plan to stage a new show solely dedicated to sex, they said in an interview with Reuters.

Married couple Gunther von Hagens and Angelina Whalley aim to democratize anatomy by showing the public corpses prepared using a technique invented by von Hagens called "plastination" that removes water from specimens and preserves them with silicon rubber or epoxy resin.

Body Worlds creative director Whalley said it was important to provide a counterpoint to the media portrayal of sex as something indecent by putting it in its scientific context.

"It's not my intention to show certain sexual poses. My goal is really to show the anatomy and the function," she said, adding the sex exhibition could be staged next year.

German politicians called the current "Cycle of Life" show, which charts human existence from conception to old age and which opened in Zurich on Friday, "revolting" and "unacceptable" when it showed in Berlin earlier this year because it included copulating cadavers.

Von Hagens, who in 2002 performed the first public autopsy in the United Kingdom for 170 years, hoped the Swiss, who have a long tradition of direct democracy and personal freedom, would be tolerant of the Cycle of Life's sexual content.

"In Germany I am the mucky pup. I am loved by the masses but in intellectual circles they think I have a screw loose," said the down-to-earth von Hagens with boyish incredulity that belied his 'Dr Death' media image.

"Switzerland is the first country that already said from the outset that we could show whatever we wanted," added von Hagens, wearing the trademark black fedora favored by Renaissance anatomists.   Continued...

<p>A plastinated human specimen is shown during the media preview of the Koerperwelten ('Body Worlds') exhibition in Zurich September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>