Art Preface


Art is as old as the human species. There are as many artistic legacies as humans have ways of expressing their aspirations and needs. Th e relationship between art and science is not unconnected to this fact—it is as ancient as humankind. Many are the scientists and researchers who, more or less successfully, have made their way into the world of art; and on their canvases an equal or greater number of artists have dealt with subjects related to advances in the fi eld of science, or have suffered from a disease.

Although it may seem a paradox, epidemics and the most debilitating diseases have always had their artistic counterparts. Numerous scientific works resorted to visual images to illustrate medical procedures, as well as plant and animal species that contribute to their cure, or on the contrary, cause them. Whether they are originals or reproductions, these works today are not only a source of knowledge for researchers, but also visual identity references of the most important cultures and artistic styles of humanity; for example, drawings made by the Italian Renaissance artists enhanced the understanding of the human body and its vital functions to achieve works of art that are identifi able with the modern ideal of human beauty.

This artistic interest is also presented in this book; the result of prolonged and conscientious investigation with respect to the scourge of TB in our contemporary societies; its scientific character does not disengage it from those visual art expressions, as a way of complementing its essential scientifi c contents. The particular manner in which art makes one see and conceptualize the most dissimilar aspects of the objective and subjective reality, turns it into an active and perpetual persuasion factor and, therefore, into an aid of any behaviour or research directed towards human physical and spiritual improvement.

The editors of this scientific endeavour have understood the perpetual yet current conditions of this affliction and have appealed to a number of artists in the most varied visual expressions (photography, fine arts, engraving, digital art, etc.) with the highly commendable purpose of giving the opportunity to the artists to join the fight against TB. Touching through their artworks and visions, different aspects of the human and social problems associated with TB adds aesthetic value to this book. It is a social advocacy eff ort—not exempt from beauty—based on the most representative visual codes of today’s art. The new, more or less realistic and symbolic fi guration, expressionism and minimalism, are some of the codes used here as visual introductory sections to the chapters of the text. In its conception and shaping, the artists have resorted to both traditional and experimental techniques. The same has happened with the materials used—from canvas through photographic film and even X-ray photographic plates. With these plates, very novel results have been achieved from an aesthetical point of view, especially due to its technological link with medical activity, which contributes additional conceptual relevance to the artistic representations. Lastly, the harmonious and inclusive character of the book’s design should be emphasized. Also, in agreement with the aesthetic and communicational values of the art selected for each chapter, the cover and back cover designs reflect the optimism of any effort directed towards physical and, consequently, spiritual improvement of our species and the world we inhabit by resorting to a universal visual metaphor—the tree as a human lung.

We have no doubt that such visual depictions will favour better comprehension and attention to the battle, still being waged day-by-day, by science against TB and other diseases. Art at the service of science, as in other times, makes the need for a healthy species more imperative. In this case, subjectivity and objectivity complement each other, to provide testimony and warn about a reality that is not, and can never be, a topic unrelated to the most committed art of our times, because it affects human health.

Jorge R Bermúdez

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