Body fluids in art

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Occasionally in contemporary art, artists use body fluids as a medium in their art. Examples include:

Artist Title Year Description Urine Blood Vomit Semen Other Notes
Andy Warhol Oxidations series 1977 Invited friends to urinate onto a canvas of metallic copper pigments, so that the uric acid would oxidize into abstract patterns.[1] Yes Yes
Elito Circa Love and Life artwork series, A Thousand and One Lives and Pacquiao Hearted Fist,[2][3] Duterte in the Center of the Triangle.[4][5][6] 1982 He incorporates some strands of his hairs in his painting and signing his drawing using his own blood to authenticate the artworks and later explore and experiment it as a medium in paintings.[7] Yes Human Hair
Andres Serrano Piss Christ and various other works 1987 Piss Christ, a controversial photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine
Various other photos featuring the use of urine, feces, blood, semen and human milk
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Human milk
Marc Quinn Self 1991, recast 1996 A frozen cast of the artist's head made entirely of his own blood Yes
Helen Chadwick Piss Flowers 1991–92 Twelve white-enameled bronzes cast from cavities made by urinating in snow (though this might not be characterized as the use of bodily fluids in art, just their use in preparation) Yes
Hermann Nitsch Das Orgien Mysterien Theater 1962–1998 Uses urine, feces, blood and more in their ritual performances Yes Yes Yes
Marcel Duchamp Paysage fautif ("Faulty Landscape") 1946 Yes
Stelarc and Nina Sellars Blender 2005-2016 The artists mixed their lipids inside a sealed, air-powered machine.[8] Yes Lipids
Gu Wenda Oedipus Refound 1989 Yes Various fluids[9]

Criticism and difficulties[edit]

Depicting objects of popular respect (religious subjects, flags, etc.) in art which includes body fluids can trigger public protests due to such material's historic association with dirtiness. The outcry about the Piss Christ photo is an example.[10]

In addition to the obvious difficulties of preserving perishable material, there can be regulations complicating transport by rail, truck, or aircraft of liquid body fluids due to the fluids' possible classification as dangerous goods.[11]

The sale of blood art via eBay is prohibited as eBay prohibits the sale of body parts, and classifies blood art as falling under this heading.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oxidations & Abstractions". Archived from the original on 2015-01-19. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Artist uses own blood, hair in paintings". The Philippine Star. Philippine Star. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  3. ^ "Ecija folk artist paints Pacquiao using his own blood". Manila Bulletin Newspaper. 2015. p. 15. Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  4. ^ "國際/熱血相挺 菲畫家用血畫出杜特蒂". 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  5. ^ "Artist Paints Duterte Portrait in Blood". CNN TV Network. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ "Filipino folk artist portraits duterte using own blood". Daily News PH. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  7. ^ "Ripley's Believe It or Not". Ripley's Believe It or Not. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  8. ^ "Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)". Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  9. ^ Zhou, Yan (2015-03-11). Odyssey of Culture: Wenda Gu and His Art. Springer. ISBN 9783662454114.
  10. ^ Fusco, Coco (Fall 1991). "Shooting the Klan: An Interview with Andres Serrano". Community Arts Network. CommunityArtsNetwork. Archived from the original on 2011-04-19.
  11. ^ "International Air Transit Association page on DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations)". Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  12. ^ "Blood Art". Archived from the original on 2008-02-24.