Heart and Soul in Museum Boerhaave

Last weekend the city of Leiden hosted the annual textile festival. The 7 museums of Leiden participate each year in this festival by presenting textiles in their presentation.

Museum Boerhaave exhibits the works of artist Halina Zalewska (Utrecht). The collection of approximately 25 works is entitled ‘Heart and Soul’. It is a perfect art collection to exhibit in our scientific museum. Surrounded by the machines, operation tools and anatomic models the works blend in as if they were made for this museum. Halina Zalewska’s work tells about the boundaries of the physical but in the mean time also about the incredible great intelligence of life. The works refer to both the anatomy of the human body and to the human spirit. She shows relationships between science, religion and philosophy. The intangible and invisible of human life is made tangible and visible. This makes her a perfect guest in our museum of science and medicine. Most works are made of textile materials, embroideries and drawings. Also short animation clips are on display.

The works take the visitor along the medical collections in the museum. It all starts in the Anatomical Theatre. Of course we discussed if our museum would be the appropriate place to show an art collection. Art and science are a rare combination and by placing the art works throughout the whole museum you might wonder whether the art will distract from our unique scientific collection. In this case, with this collection we decided that the art would contribute to the museum experience of our visitors. This collection also helps us to reach out to new audiences. It was interesting to see is that just after the start of the festival we saw many more women than usual entering the museum.

Root by Halina Zalewska

One of the surprising artworks is the Root that seems to grow right from the ceiling in one of the 19th century cabinets. It is a work that makes you curious, it makes you think, it is somehow humoristic and it is (in my opinion) a really unexpected and surprising work between the other works.

The exhibition ‘Hart en Ziel’ from Halina Zalewska is on show from March 24th until May 9th.



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