Engaging and fascinating, Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds leaves you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for our bodies.
I will be one of the first to admit that the idea of viewing real life human bodies in an exhibition was as intriguing as it was mildly repulsive, but on actually visiting, I found that my mind was very quickly changed.
Body Worlds is an extremely detailed and fascinating insight into the way our bodies work, taking us through all of the major elements that make us the way we are. Along this extraordinary journey, visitors can see the impact of a migraine on the brain itself as well as what breast cancer actually looks like.
Much of the way in which the exhibition is presented is done respectfully and it is made extremely clear at the beginning that those whose bodies are on display gave their consent. But it also allows you to forget that in fact it is real bodies and real organs that you are seeing, ensuring that visitor is predominantly focused on the amazing things our bodies can do – and the damage that we can cause by not looking after ourselves properly.
Everyone who visits will certainly take something different away from the exhibition in terms of the way they look after themselves. From a personal point of view it was the strong emphasis on what impact stress has on the body certainly made me re-evaluate how much I work and take time to relax – which is not just good for me mentally but also from a physical point of view. Throughout, there are numerous inspirational quotes that also give food for thought and have power to change your attitude.
There are a lot of medical terms used throughout that can be slightly overwhelming, but the information is broken down to great effect both on the information cards as well as through the audio headset (which I highly recommend you get to help clarify things further).
From the brain to the lungs, Body Worlds is encouraging you to have a different relationship with our bodies and to appreciate exactly what functions that they carry out on a day to day basis – functions that we take for granted until something goes wrong. In particular, seeing real life blackened lungs due to smoking should be enough to put anyone off smoking or an enlarged spleen due to leukaemia gives you a new perspective on life.
There is one section of the exhibition that is particularly uncomfortable to wander through: reproduction. If you are sensitive about the idea of seeing a five month pregnant woman on display as I was or seeing a child’s skull then I would recommend you head straight on through. As much it is educational about the way life begins – it felt as though it pushes the boundaries of what is appropriate slightly.
However, despite this it is an educational exhibition that is equally fascinating and awe inspiring. It ensures that we leave with a new found respect for our bodies and how much they do for us. Worth going to see.
By Emma Clarendon
Body Worlds is on display at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus now . To book tickets visit: https://lovelondonloveculture.tixuk.com/attractions/bodyworlds