Danish modern art collective SUPERFLEX unveiled their second medical-themed installation last week, aptly named ‘Hospital Equipment’. The exhibition consists of a fully functional and equipped operating theatre, displayed alongside photographs of the work itself.
The exhibition calls to mind a life and death situation, forcing the viewer to look on a serene image that is offset by turmoil. The theatre evokes images of the devastation caused by conflict—maiming, shock, even death— as well as the defiance shown by doctors who work to save those in conflict zones.
The work, currently on display at the von Bartha Gallery in Switzerland, features all the essentials of an operating theatre, including a hospital bed, surgical tools, a surgeon’s table and a mobile lamp. It will soon be packed up and shipped to the Salemieh Hospital in Hawarti, a small and vulnerable village located in the southwestern Hama region of Syria, leaving only the photographs behind in the gallery. These will then be sold, and the proceeds will be used to fund medical equipment in war-torn areas. SUPERFLEX has described the work as a, “ready-made upside down, since we not only take a ready-made object into an art context, but we bring it back into the world again”.