There are many instances in which art and medical science form the perfect relationship—telling stories through both visual aspects and personal experience. For artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino, their lauded exhibition, “The Heart of the Matter,” is aiming to do just that.
“The Heart of the Matter” gives visitors a look into the “extraordinary nature and complexity of the heart,” by telling the stories of patients, doctors, and other artists who have experience with heart disease, surgery, blood flow, and other cardiovascular issues.
“I first became fascinated with the workings of the heart years ago, during a summer research project on the aortic valve,” Biglino wrote in an article for the Smithsonian. “And as a bioengineer, I recently worked with an artist, a psychologist, a producer, a literature scholar, and a whole interdisciplinary team to understand even more about the heart, its function and its symbolism. We began to see the heart in completely different ways.”
Biglino also noted that patients’ stories are the most commonly overlooked aspect in medical research, which is why they are at the heart (pardon the pun) of this exhibition.
In 2017, Layton and Biglino set up workshops for heart condition patients across England, both children and adults, to discuss the emotional and physical affects heart conditions have on them with scientists, artists, students, and nurses. What came about was the inspiration for “The Heart of the Matter,” cultivating all the conversations and emotional heartaches into expressive works of art.
Visitors of the exhibition can experience the beauty, intensity, and resiliency of the human heart through 3D printing, printed textiles, digital animation, sound installation, and sculpture.
“The Heart of the Matter” launched in Newcastle, England, back in March. It will run November 1-11 at the Copeland Gallery in London. Admission is free.