The student artists Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi of Musashino Art University in Japan recently unveiled a series of portraits of X-Ray and CT images of embracing couples. One might expect images devoid of flesh, readable facial expressions, and color to read as clinical and sterile, but the photographs are strikingly human: “X-ray images usually show the finite nature of our bodies composed only of matter. But these couples’ portraits reveal a pulse that isn’t normally seen,” the artists explain.
Indeed, the images do convey ambiguous and subtle degrees of intimacy rarely seen photographically. The two individuals, positioned side by side, become hard to differentiate; the transparencies and densities of muscles and bones causes the two figures to fuse, touch, and pull apart in unexpected and haunting ways. While their bodies are flattened in space, forced to overlap, the bones themselves become separated by dark spaces, complicating the idea of what it means to be truly intimate.
The series also succeeds in conveying something more paradoxically permanent about intimate love. As mechanical process of photography and X-raying is offset by the delicacies of fingertips and craniums, the fragility and mortality of the human body is revealed. Yet the portraits, because they are X-rays and not typical fine art images, carry a forensic quality. Intentionally or not, they use a visual language normally associated with medicine and anthropology, and they are therefore poignantly removed from the confines of time and space, grounded only in relation to one another. Like two human artifacts, they invite viewers to dissect and analyze their bond. The couples appear as if held under a magnifying glass or fixed in stone, intwined in a decisive moment forever. Take a look. (via BUST, Spoon & Tomago, Daily Mail, and Bestposts)