Art on the Lagoon

A Surgeon's-Eye View

Daily Pic (Venice Biennale Edition): Yuri Ancarani shows that medical magic can upstage the aesthetic kind.

06.02.13 10:41 AM ET

This is a still from Yuri Ancarani’s video called “Da Vinci”, possibly the most striking piece from the Arsenale group exhibition curated by the New Museum’s Massimiliano Gioni. All the video gives us, more or less, is a fiber-optic, surgeon’s-eye view of the inside of someone’s gut, as it undergoes a laparoscopic operation. We watch, from inside and among folds of offal, as the surgeon’s tiny robotic tools push their way in, cut things up, burn things off then sew up what’s left. I’m afraid that the “magic” performed by the operating room’s Da Vinci Si model robot, and the real work that it does in the world, makes the best of art’s meager efforts seem almost impotent. This, you could say, is the true issue at the heart of Gioni’s ambitious curating … but you’ll have to wait for my upcoming Newsweek review to get all the – gory – details.

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