Exhibition view “Cere anatomiche: La Specola di Firenze | David Cronenberg”. Ph. Roberto Marossi. "Four Unloved Women, Adrift on a Purposeless Sea, Experience the Ecstasy of Dissection", 2023, a film by David Cronenberg.
13 Sep – 20 Sep 2023

In this film David Cronenberg uses digital editing to introduce into an alternative narrative four female wax models from the renowned collection of the Florentine museum La Specola. His short movie explores recurrent elements and themes of his creative vision, particularly his fascination for the human body and its potential mutations and contaminations.

Four Unloved Women, Adrift on a Purposeless Sea, Experience the Ecstasy of Dissection liberates the four wax models from their academic function as medical demonstrations and educational tools, including one of the most relevant works of La Specola’s collection, the so-called Venus, a rare model with detachable parts famous for its beauty. His film reveals the vivid and unexpected dimension of the ceroplastics, so far known for their static and severe nature, to generate a plurality of new emotional responses, intellectual impressions, and intense feelings.

As stated by David Cronenberg, “The wax figures of La Specola were created primarily as teaching tools that unlocked the mysteries of the human body for those who could never access the relatively rare corpse dissection sessions of universities and teaching hospitals. But in their effort to create certain partially dissected full figures whose body language and facial expressions did not display pain or agony, did not suggest they were undergoing torture or punishment or even surgery, they happened to produce living characters who seemed to be in the throes of ecstasy. It was this startling choice on the part of the sculptors of these figures that captured my imagination: what if it was the dissection itself that induced that ecstasy, that almost religious rapture?”

David Cronenberg’s short movie Four Unloved Women, Adrift on a Purposeless Sea, Experience the Ecstasy of Dissection is screened inside the Podium in a set-up conceived by the creative agency Random Studio. The film was made for the exhibition “Cere anatomiche” presented by Fondazione Prada in collaboration with La Specola, which is part of the Museum of Natural History and Museum System of the University of Florence, and the Canadian film director and screenwriter.

The short movie has been selected by the 61st New York Film Festival (29 September – 15 October 2023) and will be featured in the Spotlight section.