Animals have fascinated me all my life

As a child, I was enthralled by  the small animals  I encountered in the woods.
The first specimens I dissected were beetles, frogs, and other small animal corpses that my friend, Dietrich and I found during our jaunts to the woods. These deaths which were so random and yet so normal must have colored my view of death and shaped my thoughts on mortality, preparing me psychologically for my career as an anatomist.

My childhood years were filled with a  certain awe for nature and the varieties of life that populated it. But in my  teenage years, my interest in biology was replaced by an interest in electronics and space. I became the resident expert on all things related to Sputnik, and soon in the gadgets I saw in early James Bond films.

Later as an adult, I renewed my relationship with animals by frequently visiting  zoos and aquariums.  The larger than life animals I admired—giraffes, elephants, and gorillas—were filled with a controlled grace that I found wondrous.

They lumbered, they sauntered, they ambled, their elegance so surprisingly disproportionate to their size. In the last decade, I have traveled to Africa and Antarctica to see up close the creatures that had captured my childhood imagination.

In an accelerated technological age, when our environments are fashioned from steel and concrete, being in close proximity to animalsboth domestic and wildreturn us to authenticity. Outside of the rainforests and flora, they and we are the last remaining pieces of nature. They are our co-habitants on this spinning blue globe. This exhibition, ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, is both a celebration and an homage to animals both familiar and rare.

Dr. Gunther von Hagens
Anatomist, Inventor of Plastination and
Creator of ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, a Body Worlds Production

February 2013