A 2001 article from Maxim magazine
Want to show the ladies your inner beauty?
Prof. Gunther von Hagens of Heidelberg’s Institute for Plastination can help. He’ll peel back that thick skin to reveal the beauty you’ve been hiding. All you have to do is fill out some paperwork and die.
He calls it “anatomy art,” and in Europe and Japan his traveling exhibition “Worlds of the Body” has drawn more than 6 million visitors eager to gawk at some 200 “plastinated” corpses. Dry, odorless, and durable enough to be pawed by hordes of schoolchildren, these stiffs are waiting to be joined by living counterparts on a 3400-person donor list.
Plastination begins with an icy dip in acetone (for dehydration and defatting) then proceeds to a warmer vacuum-sealed bath of epoxy, silicone, or polyester resin. As acetone evaporates, it’s displaced by plastic. Voile!
Bodies are also dissected in various artsy and informative ways. A recent showing in Berlin, featured a variety of exploded-view specimens, including a “longitudinally expanded body” stretched totem-pole fashion with skull popping up over facial musculature, an anatomist’s exercise in “drawer fragmentation” (yes, a “chest of drawers”), and a flayed figure holding up his epidermis suit like an impatient customer at the dry cleaner.
Naturally, not everyone’s charmed by these displays, but von Hagens insists he’s done nothing gauche. “I would reach the limits of good taste,” he says, ” if I carved a vase from a lung, filled it with water, and placed a daisy in it.” Well, there’s still time. Organizers are looking at a stateside exhibition sometime in 2002 or 2003.