Hearts Are For Taking Hostage

This week is your last chance to see an exhibition at East Gallery by an illustrator and nurse obsessed with inner workings of the human body

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For just one more week, East Gallery plays host to an exhibition by the illustrator, Anna Magnowska. Hearts Are For Taking Hostage is an anatomical exhibition which focuses on how different body parts function in terms of love, lust and loss rather than existing as purely biological components. Anna’s combined interests are displayed in mixed media pieces, using collage techniques to explore the ways in which emotive action and physical capacity can interact and complement each other. Dazed met Anna to find out more about how this unusual pairing of art and science was created...

Dazed Digital: Can you begin by telling me your history in art? Was illustration your primary interest or did you develop this through your nursing?
Anna Magnowska:
I have been a freelance illustrator for about eleven years now, after studying illustration at Brighton University. I then went to live in Australia for a couple of years where I met another illustrator. We formed a partnership and collaborated out there, where we did a few magazines and produced a lot of shows and exhibitions. We came back to work over here but I found it quite difficult to have a full time career in freelance illustration and in creative jobs in general. I thought I wanted to do something completely different and my Dad is a psychiatric nurse so I suppose healthcare is in the family and a common interest. It just seemed to jump out at me, and so I enrolled in a nursing course - and I loved it! It’s not for everyone and not for the faint hearted but I really enjoy it.

DD: It is quite interesting to see the scientific basis and biological diagrams juxtaposed against the very colourful and artistic work. What is the working process behind this?
Anna Magnowska:
When I am studying for exams I would draw out big diagrams of various systems, such as the respiratory system or the renal system and I thought that they didn’t look very good. Although they are purely functional, I began to think about the diagrams as an illustrator then they progressed and were made into art pieces. I feel as though the dissection of the various body systems allowed me to dissect it on the canvas, so to speak..

DD: The pieces work as a collection as they all complement and follow the same aesthetic structure. Where do you think your art will progress next?
Anna Magnowska:
Well I use a combination of everything, collage, painting, everything like that. I would like to eventually animate these stories, which I see as a natural progression from illustration. I think it depends on where life takes me, I will have to wait and see!

Hearts are for Taking Hostage is at East Gallery, London
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