The Heart of the Matter is an exhibition that brings together art and medicine to reflect on the human heart.
The heart can symbolise romantic love and the centre of human emotion, but it is also the engine room of our body and an intricate piece of machinery. Through artworks inspired by patients with heart conditions, their families and clinicians, the exhibition invites you to discover the extraordinary nature and complexity of this organ.
The Heart of The Matter began with a collaboration between artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino. In 2017, they brought together patients with heart conditions at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, the Bristol Heart Institute and the Adult Congenital & Paediatric Heart Unit of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, to look at the heart emotionally and metaphorically in workshops with scientists, artists, students, and nurses. Conversations and stories from these workshops in turn inspired artworks that offer insight into the heart’s beauty, fragility and resilience, using scientific and artistic methods. Medical 3D printing and topographical maps describe cardiovascular anatomy; digital animation responds to medical imaging; and other abstracted stories are given form in printed textiles, sound installations and sculpture.
The Heart of The Matter was conceived by artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino and developed with health psychologist Jo Wray. It was inspired by workshops, encounters and collaborations with patients and scientists, artists, clinicians and nurses in London, Bristol and Newcastle. It is produced by Susie Hall (GOSH Arts), Nicky Petto and Anna Ledgard in association with Artsadmin and is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Above & Beyond, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. With thanks to RapidformRCA, 3D Life Print and British Heart Foundation.
Images: Sofie Layton, Rubik’s Heart I, 2018; Sofie Layton, I feel like I am holding snow in my hands, 2018; Sofie Layton, Home is Where The Heart Is, 2018; Sofie Layton, Blueprints, 2018. Photos: Stephen King