Thursday, April 23, 2009

Body Worlds [Copycat] Shut Down in France

The French version of the much acclaimed Body Worlds, which had been showing in Paris since February, was shut down by a French court after local associations claimed that the exhibit showed disrespect for the deceased. Dead bodies belong in cemeteries, they argue; they should not be paraded around. Adding to the controversy is that the bodies in Our Body's Paris exhibit are exclusively Chinese, and displayed without prior agreement from the deceased. There are also rumors that they might be stolen bodies of executed prisoners.

The abrupt shut down has triggered a philosophical debate in France about deceased peoples' rights, human decency, and the educational benefits of such exhibits. Eric at Paris Daily Photo recently posted about it, and comments from his readers encapsulate the variety of opinions. As one reader points out, it was also in Paris that Modigliani’s exhibition of human bodies was shut down by the legal authorities. Another reader adds, "How about the French people on exhibition in the Catacombs!!!" Ditto.

UPDATE: Precision per a reader's comment: The "Our Body" show is a copycat, not a version of Gunther von Hagens' "Body Worlds." but the French controversy about whether dead bodies belong in cemeteries vs public exhibits applies to both shows...and to the Catacombs.
photo Eric @


Anonymous said...

This is not Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS. This is a copy cat exhibition that uses unclaimed and found Chinese bodies -- similar to the Bodies show that is in New York. BODY WORLDS uses bodies that were donated to Plastination. This is a copy cat of BODY WORLDS. BODY WORLDS has never been to France or Paris.

LA Frog said...

Thanks for the precision. That's what I meant by "version" = not Body Worlds itself, but my franglais misfired. I have updated the post accordingly.