Albert Hasselwander (German, 1877–1954) with Fritz Skell (German, 1885–1961)
Javelin thrower and skeleton posed with javelin
Plates in Hasselwander, Ein anatomischer Totentanz (An anatomical dance of death) (Munich: J. F. Bergmann, 1926)
Purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2022; PML 198787

Nina Katchadourian
The Human Body: The Incredibal Machine, 1975–76
Handwritten book, bound by Runa “Nunni” Lindfors (Finnish, 1904–1987)
Courtesy Nina Katchadourian


Nina Katchadourian: I think there are two things that connect objects in this group that generally have to do with the human body. One is how you might observe it, how you might record it, but also how you might make it strange to yourself by observing it and then changing it. So there are a number of photos here where the body is kind of taken apart and put back together differently. There are also examples of how you might try to see something inside a body, perhaps the impulse to show a man throwing a javelin and also a skeleton. Throwing a javelin, um, is a little bit related to my impulse as a seven-year-old with my best friend to write an anatomy book for the children, by the children, where we too, were really curious about the mechanics of ourselves and what we were constructed of and how those things worked. So in the book that I made when I was seven, there is an attempt to take the whole thing apart and to understand what the component parts might be. Maybe there are these two things happening at the same time, which is that parts of us become more known to ourselves and parts actually just get even more strange.