From eMORFES…anatomical beauty through a different lens; for me, also a reflection on the beauty of the cycle of life.

NOTE: the specimens were not killed by the artist, but found already lifeless. (I paused forever there… They’re so vivid, I couldn’t bring myself to write “dead”. But they were so in a way I guess I find this an artistic resurrection.)


Japanese artist Iori Tomita transforms the scientific technique of preserving and dying organism specimens into an art form with his series, ‘shinsekai [toumei hyouhon]‘ (‘new world transparent specimens’). Tomita began experimenting with the preservation and staining of fish while working as a fisherman, gradually developing his mastery of the nuances of the process necessary for refining the form and color of the pieces. For each specimen, Tomita first removes the scales and skin of fish that have been preserved in formaldehyde. He leaves the organism to soak in a mixture of blue stain, ethyl alcohol, and glacial acetic acid before utilizing the enzyme trypsin to break down protein and muscles, stopping the reaction as soon as they become transparent but before they lose their form. The bones are then stained by soaking the fish in a combination of potassium hydroxide and red dye, before the specimen is preserved…

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