The Art of Deception

Isaac Monté (BE), Toby Kiers (US)

Humans use deception to achieve perfection in society, art and science. Reacting to this through art, we have taken discarded pig hearts and transformed them into elegant vessels for new life by decellularizing them and re-populating them with various techniques, into aesthetically improved hearts for humans.

Decellularization marks a new era of synthetic biology – organs are stripped of their cellular contents, leaving behind a sterile scaffold that can be repopulated with stem cells. While the medical utilization of this resource is being realized, the artistic and creative value of ghost organs represents unexplored territory.


The Art of Deception / Isaac Monté (BE), Toby Kiers (US), Credit:


With this collection of 21 transformed hearts we explore how biological interventions and aesthetic manipulation can be used as tools for the ultimate deception: the transformation of inner beauty, from grotesque to perfect. Can the ghost organ be a blank canvas for designers? Can organs be objects of design? Will humans be able to manipulate organs for aesthetic purposes? The discarded dead hearts will not function as canonical organs, but rather as a representation of how far science can manipulate the human body.


In collaboration with Professor Toby Kiers (Free University Amsterdam) 
Commissioned by Bio Art & Design Awards, with the support of ZonMw 
(The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development). 

Special thanks to: 
ZonMw, NWO, BioArt Laboratories, MU, Waag Society, Dr. Renée van Amerongen – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Dr. Monique Verstegen – Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Yvonne Steinvoort – Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Dr. ir. Jos Malda & Kim van Dorenmalen – University Medical Center Utrecht, Professor Paul van der Valk – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Simon Dupin, Riet Vooijs, Galerie PUUR, Lise Lefebvre, Suzanne van Beest, Bram Geers, Rodrigo Leite de Oliveira, Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, Myriah Lesko, Dario Tortorelli, Rosita van Audenhove, Monica Monté, Job Taks, Gera Bikker, Iza Stepska, Elise Marcus, Levi Baetens, Pushpi Bagchi, Gabrielle Kennedy, Remon van Droffelaar, Willem Velthoven and everyone who has supported me in one way or another.