‘Capacity’: three times life size human lung made of glass using laboratory borosilicate glass
'Capacity' explored the intricacy of the pulmonary system within the human lungs, made while researching at Guys Hospital Museum of Anatomy, London with the help of the senior technician George Bridgeman. Cattrell studied the corrosion casts which show the intricacies of the trachea, bronchi and alveoli of the lungs. These casts are made by injecting mould mix at high pressure into the lungs of a cadaver and then removing the excess human tissue once the mix has solidified, thus revealing the three dimensional pathways where oxygen enters from the mouth and nose through the lungs into bloodstream. Using laboratory glass (normally associated with chemical experiments) Cattrell fabricated the human lungs using her own breath in the highly technical glass blowing and fusing process. Therefore the organ of air was fabricated by air itself. The glass blown lungs acted as a metaphor for the fragility and intensity between life and death. The end result was entitled 'Capacity' and has been exhibited widely at, amongst others: 'British Art Group Show', Galerie Alain le Gaillard, Paris, 2002 'The Body, Art and Science', National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm, 2005 'Simply Complex' ('Einfach Komplex'), Museum of Design, Zurich, 2005 'Invisible Worlds', Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany, 2006 Also to be shown at 'Out of the Ordinary', Victoria and Albert Museum, 2007 It has also been shown in reproduction in medical contexts such as in the British Lung Foundation. The Royal Veterinary School Potters Bar has expressed interest in showing 'Capacity' while teaching, to enable students to fully comprehend the enormity of animal lungs. It was featured in Marcus de Sotta’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures, Channel Four (2006) Prof Martin Kemp (Oxford University) wrote a text about 'Capacity' where he made comparisons with Leonardo da Vinci’s studies and approach to understanding the human lungs.
Citation : Cattrell, A. 22 Feb - 30 March 2001. Capacity. London: Anne Faggionato Gallery.
Research Group : Photographic Studies and Creative Imaging
- School of Arts