The art project ‘Art4Heart‘
‘Art4Heart‘, that’s the name of one of my artistic series. It consists of 16 mixed media pictures and 4 small sculptures and was the result of a very personal life experience. As far as is known here, the art series started in 2017 is unique because real medical stents were used in the creation of the objects. I will give a detailed overview of this in the following.
Origin and inspiration
Experiencing a heart attack, the near-death experience associated with it, first-class medical care and dealing personally with this event led me to the interesting idea of using artistic means to depict what stents are, what they can achieve and what enormous progress and benefits they can bring to life. It became my personal desire to show how such miracles of technology, combined with modern medicine, can become an act of art for life and health.
The challenge of developing an artistic concept from the original idea and then putting it into practice was not an easy one. In particular, the demanding task of procuring suitable medical equipment had to be mastered. Fortunately, I was able to convince several management boards of well-known manufacturers to provide medical stents. Only in this way it was possible to realize the planned project. I am very grateful for that.
Aspects of product and medical technology
Stents can be used in both human and veterinary medicine. The objects are used to open, expand and stabilize blocked or injured arteries. This means that damaged blood vessels can be strengthened and the blood circulation can again circulate without problems. Stents are impressive high-tech products that are manufactured from a so-called shape memory alloy using a particularly sophisticated technical process. This means that a material and a manufacturing process are used during production that ensure that the finished medium can be deformed very often and almost at will, but nevertheless always returns to its predetermined original shape as soon as an external force ceases to exist. So stents are variable, flexible and yet very stable. In this way, stents can be reduced in size or compressed and placed at the required location in an organism. If this has been successfully done, the device can remain permanently in the affected blood vessel. Depending on which model is most suitable for the individual patient, very different stents can be used. For example, for special applications there are also those that are coated with a drug. This can be very helpful in individual cases and particularly serve the patient’s health.
In my opinion, stents and their possible uses embody the connection between science and art in an impressive way. Through their existence and the way in which they can be used, they demonstrate the important connection between modern technological possibilities, medical art and human well-being.
Fundamental aspects of art
The question of what art is and how it can possibly be defined has been discussed among artists and art experts in the most varied of ways around the world without a uniform or binding definition having been achieved so far. The discussion continues and will likely never end. If you summarize the overwhelming majority of opinions, art is always characterized by the fact that it is based on an idea, that it has emerged from a creative and designing act, that the resulting representation represents something special, that it is usually part of an event or is embedded in a story as well as in a specific temporal context and that a concrete, perceptible result has been produced, which has a recognizable intention, message and artistic attitude.
The conception and intention of the art series ‘Art4Heart‘
My art series ‘Art4Heart‘ aims to inform and make people aware of the outstanding importance of modern technology for human health. When stents are implanted in a person in a virtuoso act of medical competence and thereby help to survive and stabilize health, true art of the highest quality is created. Each individual case is a work for life and a unique piece of incomparable value.
Thus, the art series ‘Art4Heart‘ is first and foremost a respectful recognition of what high technology and medicine can do for health today by joining forces. The individual paintings and sculptures are also intended as a reminder that health cannot be taken for granted. Viewers should be stimulated to think, to look after and respect health, to deal with it in a disciplined and responsible manner, and to practice gratitude and humility. The workpieces should raise awareness and help to recognize what is really important. They are an attempt to gently lead people to understand that time and life are the most important things we have. When we learn to be intense and mindful with the help of art, it is enriching and fulfilling.
Aspects of information and communication
In the following I would like to describe further personal experiences and assessments. As is well known, art can appeal to and reach people on different levels. The visual, acoustic or sensitive information that can emanate from an art form can be multifunctional and multidirectional. It can not only inform, but also try to make something aware. It can have an internal and external effect. The impulse emanating from art can go nowhere or it can trigger communication.
Art thus has important social effects. Art opens up more opportunities for people to exchange ideas and make contacts. Art enables people to express feelings. It can create a sense of community and strengthen social bonds. Art can encourage and empower people to be more responsible. In the elderly in particular, participatory programs can alleviate loneliness and isolation. Art can help sick or old people to maintain their curiosity and personal independence. In addition, art can improve performance.
An extraordinarily significant effect of art lies in the fact that it can be an excellent means of conflict-free understanding between people, peoples and ethnic groups. It serves successfully worldwide as a connecting, unifying and strengthening element.
So if we want to express something important that is embedded in a concrete experience, event or in a concrete historical context, then art is a very suitable form of expression. This will always attract attention and appreciation from an open, interested audience.
Aspects of health
It has been scientifically proven that art has a healing power that should not be underestimated. It is therefore extremely valuable for people and for society. The first is the health and medical aspect. Being active in the performing or visual arts can create feelings of joy and lasting health benefits. From the perspective of holistic medicine, not only mental but also physical health can benefit from it. Artistic activities can be a fun way to express yourself and your feelings without using words. Art activities can also help people deal with problems and better manage mental stress. Concentrating on your own creativity can direct thoughts in a positive, fruitful direction and reduce stress, anxiety or depression.
With regard to myself, my illness and recovery gave me the insight that health cannot be taken for granted and that time and gratitude are among the most important things we have. For me personally, art is an important health aspect, a great creative expression and a source of strength, endurance and quality of life. It enables me to feel personal freedom and is a real asset.
However, there is more to the grace of health in this day and age. With a view to the current corona pandemic, it is impossible to appeal often enough to respect for life, reason and discipline. We should like to thank everyone who does this with artistic means.
The connection between science and art
In my experience and conviction, the interaction of art and science can open up unexpected insights and perspectives. Art can be a wonderful instrument, tool and aid to depict certain scientific findings, achievements and processes, especially with visual means. In this way, art is an excellent opportunity to present scientific topics and phenomena, to communicate them and to make them understandable. Furthermore, art can be a source of inspiration to uncover solutions that are not immediately recognizable and to improve knowledge transfer and cooperation in all areas.
The ancient human experience is noteworthy in this context: Man tends to fear and fight what he does not know and what is not familiar to him. This aspect plays an important role in psychology. Art offers a very helpful way to break through fear and rejection. By making unknown things, phenomena and effects visible with the help of art, one can inform. Information enables something to be assessed and judged. Assessment and judgment help to understand something. Understanding can lead to acceptance. Trust can be built on acceptance. Trust is the basis for cooperation and success. In this chain of effects, art can be a very important initial impulse that enables essential advantages.
In the relationship between science and art, the experimental and research aspect is also of particular importance. As a result, not only special teaching areas have been set up at various colleges and universities under the umbrella term ‘Art and Science‘, but there are now also post-graduate courses that explore the creative relationships between art and science and develop solutions for communicating them.
In particular, in recent years more and more practice has become established, considerations and to visually present findings from the field of interaction or the intersection of art and science, for example through photos, videos or simple texts. There are even creative projects that only aim to show the unusualness, the colourfulness, the aesthetics or the beauty of certain aspects from the field of astronomy, chemistry, physics, medicine, biology or geology. In addition, there are bold art projects that completely and consciously leave the interpretation of the objects shown to the viewer.
With all this it becomes clear: The area in which a contact or intersection of science and art is conceivable is a huge field that needs to be explored. Its size seems difficult to estimate. Some even describe its dimension as infinite.
If we look at the entire scene from a different perspective, it becomes clear that: With its research, discoveries, advances and developments in a wide variety of fields, the sciences produce advantages and benefits that are indispensable for the well-being and future of mankind. To grasp the dimension, one might consider that the amount of human knowledge is doubling every year. From this the conclusion can rightly be deduced: What is achieved in the field of science is always an art, albeit a very special one. To highlight this with the help of the art series ‘Art4Heart‘ was a particularly attractive task for me.
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