top of page


We sincerely thank the participants and visitors!
The exhibition will last 2 months on Fridays from 10:00 to 14:00.




Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, mechanic, physicist, writer, philosopher and theologist, once said: "If there is no God, and I believe in Him, I lose nothing. But if there is God, but I do not believe in Him, I lose everything". To paraphrase this statement into modern primitive language, it is much more profitable to act towards the universe and the humans as if He exists. Perhaps, we’ll be rewarded then, won’t we?
A large number of people today do not really believe in the afterlife: alas, I am one of them. The Buddhist belief in the transmigration of souls, when in a new reincarnation you turn out to be a bug or a mollusk, with no memory of your mom, dad and loved ones, is not very attractive, is it? Thus, in the consumer age we are trying to make the most of what we can HERE and NOW, dreaming about what, alas, we cannot reach. Have you ever thought about the fact that we are driven more by lust than "take", because what is already acquired can only be spent: it is a static condition, a dead end like death, it has no dynamics.
When you are young and open to the world you are very much worried about the way others react to you. When you become old you are more interested in the state of your own mortal shell and its internal equipment, which usually make their owner less and less happy. You more and more often receive all sorts of signals from different body systems that prevent you from concentrating on the important things: you feel a slight shortness of breath when tying your shoes (daily training and swimming in the pool three times a week do not help much); you develop a special interest in measuring blood pressure, in connection with which you also begin to worry about the level of cholesterol, although it (cholesterol) does not hurt or itch. You can’t count everything... An extroverted person gradually becomes an introvert. The foolish notion that one gains wisdom in old age is a pure illusion. Hell, don't believe it! I would gladly distribute “my wealth” of years to those longing for it and always remain 35-40 years old! Of course, I would not like to be a 20-year-old stupid youngster forever. But who is asking you?
Once, a few years ago in Edinburgh on a cloudy autumn day I left the Edinburgh Dungeon (remember Walter Scott’s famous novel?1), crossed the square, passed through the fortress gates and found myself on the street called the "Royal Mile". 
I fell in love with Edinburgh at the very first sight: the age-old patina of noble architecture, the weather changings several times a day, the smiling, beautiful people with dignity in their manners, a very special cuisine, which is by no means English (there are 5 Michelin restaurants in the city of half a million - count how many there are in Moscow and St. Petersburg) and then it was something else, something elusive, which I have not yet been able to fully understand.
I wandered from the cathedral to the market along the "Royal Mile" staring at the windows of luxurious shops and bars (there are handful of them over there), crossed the bridge, turned right and soon noticed a rather gloomy classical building of harsh gray stone, which was, in fact, the purpose of my journey. It was the museum called "The Hall of Surgeons", not only a museum, but the residence of the Royal College of Surgeons in the capital of Scotland. The complex included the buildings of the museum, archive and library. The famous Edinburgh surgeon Joseph Bell was one of the many presidents of King`s College: his diagnostic intuition, which was based on knowledge and exclusive observation skills, greatly impressed his colleagues and students. It was he who used to be the surgical mentor of Arthur Conan Doyle, who, in his turn, later abandoned medical career and became a writer.
The idea to create a "collection of natural and artificial rarities" dates back to 1699. One of the first visitors to the museum was Daniel Defoe. Over the years, the collection has expanded and required a new building, which was designed and then built by the famous Scottish architect Playfair. Today`s collection of the museum is huge, it consists of several permanent exhibitions: the Museum of Pathology, the Museum of the History of Surgery, Technique and Technology that demonstrate various secrets of the craft from the time of the Roman Empire to the present day, including surgical and dental instruments, artifacts, old paintings and engravings.
Tired of a very interesting collection of modern medical achievements, I wandered to another floor where numerous monsters, sleepily swimming in formalin, were looking at me from the bottles placed on the oak shelves – an eerie, but attractive experience. On the next floors I saw ancient surgical and dental instruments, marvelous in their artistic design and more similar to the inquisitorial appliances. I wandered from hall to hall, from floor to floor. A few hours later I felt “sick” while leaving the Museum. The sun appeared outdoors, I was exhausted and starving. I decided to enter the closest pub and ordered haggis2. I had not lost my appetite after all that new experience, thanks God! Several years have passed, but the feeling that I moved then several centuries back and touched some sacred secret of being still remains.
As a former surgeon I have little interest in the average norm. Instead of this notorious “norm” I am much more excited to study various deviations of life. The same in art – I am attracted by the oddities of being that one could notice peeping around: the exciting "sudden accidental exposure, the edge of the petticoat, peeking out from the carefully ironed folds. The ugly metal frame, which suddenly shows off from the velvet upholstery – the eruption of the spring of a plush armchair shamelessly exposing the illusionary nature of any softness..." 3.  I don`t like pure colors. I prefer the undertones of autumnal Edinburgh or rainy Petersburg instead of Mediterranean blue. I do not favor the "plain truth" in any of its manifestations. I prefer the diaper rash and cellulite of the characters of Lucian Freud and Sasha Okun to the colorful paintings of Gainsborough and Van Dyck. They seem to me more beautiful and convincing. It may seem absurd to you, but I often find that illness is more emotionally inspiring and exciting than health.
In our preparations for the upcoming exhibition, we, of course, would not like to follow the idiotic cheerfulness of the one popular Russian television show "Live Healthy". On the other hand, we would not like to spiral into "dark seamy side" – there is plenty of it around us without our impact, especially lately. Our goal is to rather keep the aesthetic taste not excluding slightly humorous notes.

                                                                                                                             Translated by Andrey MASHINYAN

1. W. Scott. The Heart of Midlothian. Famous historical novel from a series of novels entitled “Tales of My Landlord”.
2. National Scottish dish of lamb giblets chopped with onions cooked in lamb abomasum.
3. Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer, a Nobel Prize winner of 2018 (from the novel “The Runners”).

Якорь 1
bottom of page