“Study towards ‘Aftermath'” by Peta Clancy, Helen Pynor

  • ©, Peta Clancy and Helen Pynor, Study towards ‘Aftermath'
  • Video still from YouTube


    Study towards ‘Aftermath'

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    Hidden in a small side room is the other ‘heart’ of this show – the visceral one: Peta Clancy and Helen Pynor’s Study Towards Aftermath. A video documentation of the perfusion of pig hearts, performed at the Science Gallery in Dublin earlier in 2013, the work cleanly records a technical process, but this documentation is both disturbing and acutely poetic.

    From what I see, ‘perfusion’ entails taking the pig hearts, hooking them up to tubes, zapping them into apparent life with a defibrillator (don’t quote me on this), and pumping blood through them (or letting them do the pumping themselves); in this case into a large perspex ‘blood-catching’ apparatus. Against Gail Priest’s minimal soundtrack of gentle harmonic hums, soft and distant, we watch the set-up: the splattering blood as clamps are manipulated; the urinal-like containers into which the hearts bleed copiously; the audience clustered around. The cinematography is stunning: sharp-focused and built on primary colours, mostly red. The two hearts in their dead-but-animated state pump and bleed; at one point, one seems to hiccup blood – it’s gruesome. The cut arteries gape like too-soft mouths; the beating action is undulating, horribly sensuous, and riveting.