’Our Body’ exhibition banned in France
2010 09 20

By Priscille LaFitte | France24.com


France’s highest court has held up two previous verdicts banning the "Our Body: The Universe Within" exhibition, making France the first country to ban the controversial human body expo.

The highest judicial authority in France has definitively banned the exhibition “Our Body: The Universe Within”, upholding two previous court decisions that raised concerns over the striking expo that showcases actual human body parts, organs and skin.

The ruling is significant both because banning exhibitions in France is a rarity, and because it makes France the first country to chase out “Our Body". The exhibition has enjoyed successful runs in the United States and Germany.

“Our Body” uses a technique of polymer impregnation, developed by the German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, that precisely preserves human tissues down to the cell level and cancels putrefaction. It has stunned visitors with its detailed display of intertwining human body systems.

The exhibition was presented to French audiences, first in Lyon and Marseille in the spring of 2008, then in Paris in February 2009, before running into legal troubles.

Body of evidence

Soon after their arrival, the origins of the bodies became a matter of debate in France. Two organisations, “Together against the death penalty” and “Solidarity China”, said they suspected the bodies came from the Chinese prison authority, and not from Hong Kong medical schools, as “Our Body” producer Studio 2 Productions claims.


The exposed body parts and organs are so perfectly preserved, the two rights organisations argued, that they must have been delivered just moments after death. Another observation brought forth by the two groups was that the bodies show no evidence of serious pathology that could have caused immediate death.

The critics of the expo maintain that the bodies probably belonged to former Chinese death row inmates, around 6,000 of whom are killed each year.
Encore Productions, the local French organiser of the exhibition, was unable to prove – on grounds of medical confidentiality - that the Chinese group that provided the bodies had not procured them from prisons.


Appealing… to consumers?

After the rights groups presented their case, a Paris judge ordered “Our Body” to be closed in 2009. The exhibition organisers shot back that the ruling had been “ecclesiastically” inspired, based on the judge’s “personal beliefs” and appealed the decision.

Ten days later, a Paris court of appeals confirmed the ban, but offered a different reason for its decision: the judge insisted that proof of origins needed to be displayed on exhibits. Encore Productions launched a new appeal.

After deliberation, France’s highest appeals court has also sided with the plaintiffs, but on entirely new grounds. According to the presiding judges, the display of corpses for commercial purposes goes against the French civil code, which states: "The remains of the deceased should be treated with respect, dignity and decency."
For Patrice Spinosi, the lawyer for Encore Productions, the decision sets a questionable precedent. “‘Commercial purposes’, is at best a vague term,” Spinosi says. “We will see if any exhibition you have to pay to see can become a candidate for this ban,” he added.

For the winning lawyer, Richard Sedillot, the issue is also far from over. He says he has already been contacted by Canadian and Eastern European organisations that hope to bring similar charges against “Our Body” in their own countries.

Article from: france24.com




Related Articles
8-Year-Old Painting Prodigy "Mini Monet" is New Art World Star
The (Naked) Nobel Brotherhood and Vigeland’s Strange Art in Oslo
Ostrich egg patterns oldest form of art and communication
Alan Moore - Art is Magic (Video)
National Art Hate Week
Israeli art show removes pictures showing suicide bomber as Virgin Mary after public furor
Neurology and the Passion for Art (Video)
Czech EU art stokes controversy
Gunther von Hagens exhibition criticised over corpse sex display


Latest News from our Front Page

Saudi oil chief: No conspiracy behind oil prices
2014-12-22 20:36
Nothing to see here or here Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders that he was confident the market would stabilize. The kingdom, which is dependent on oil revenues, is able to weather lower oil prices due to ...
North Korea's internet is having serious problems
2014-12-22 19:13
North Korea is having serious connectivity issues this morning, North Korea Tech reports. The country has extremely limited web infrastructure to begin with, but reports from Dyn indicate the country's infrastructure has suffered a series of major outages over the past 24 hours. As a result, anyone at a North Korean IP would have found it nearly impossible to connect ...
The Left, The State And (Opportunistically As Always) Big Business
2014-12-22 18:04
Adapted from Paul Gottfried‘s address to the 2014 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, at a panel focused on “The Left and the State,“ following remarks made by Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center and Keith Preston of Attack the System I’d like to come back to a remark that Carl Horowitz made in Keith Preston described in his remarks, ...
'The Interview' A Sony False Flag Hack and Hollywood's Empire of Mediocrity
2014-12-20 22:15
It’s official: Sony Pictures has pulled the plug on The Interview – across all media platforms. The chain of events which led to this point may forever be marked by historians as a seminal, watershed moment in this troubling epoch, known simply as, ‘The Age of Stupidity’. Without a doubt, the most exciting piece of foreign theater involving the US and North ...
US Silent on Psychologists Role in CIA’s Tortures: Doctors
2014-12-20 21:53
Physicians for Human Rights had not received any response from the US Federal Commission to their call to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program, Deputy Director of the organization told Sputnik. December 19 (Sputnik) — US government has not responded to calls to prosecute doctors, who participated in CIA torture program, the Deputy Director of Communications for ...
More News »