Shanell Papp has proven to be a versatile artist. Working on various mediums, she crafted a stunning life-sized crotchet skeleton through her fascination with anatomy.
She started the project back in 2005 when she crocheted the anatomically correct figures with removable organs during her time as an art student at the University of Lethbridge.
For around 8 months, Papp worked on the crochet skeleton, spending just the same amount of time on the skeleton and the internal organs.
And her final installation featured the life-sized crochet skeleton laid on a gurney, with other crochet organs installed to create the look and feel of a real lab.
Nothing is missing: a soft crocheted heart, lungs, liver, small and large intestine, ten hollow phalanges, and all are recreated with different colors and as similar as possible to the original human organs. The bones of the crotchet skeleton are also perfectly proportioned.
The self-taught artist, who lives and works in Alberta, Canada, learned how to crochet when she was only 9 years old.
"I made the skeleton, in order to explore my body while I was an art student at the University of Lethbridge."
"Before making this work I had a keen interest in medical history, Frankenstein, enlightenment thinking, the victorian period, the birth of industry (textile production), crime investigation, mortuary practices, and museums….I made the work to explore my interest in the human body."
The incredibly detailed and accurate anatomy shows just how much can be done with only wool and crochet needles, as the textile sculpture is both a work of technical skill and fantasy.
According to DesignBoom, Papp noted:
"I wanted this work to illustrate all of the organs and bones everyone shares and to not highlight differences. Much of anatomical history is about defining difference, by comparative analysis. This can set up strange taxonomies and hierarchies. I wasn't interested in participating in that; I wanted to expose the fragile, common, and unseen things in all of us."
Papp's interests follow a long history of mingling between medical science and art.
From Leonardo Da Vinci using cadavers, making precise drawings of the human body to contemporary artists creating anatomical drawings with a twist, the human body continues to fascinate many artists.