Bayley Street to Bedford Square, 2008. Photo: Kevin Sheppard

Bayley Street to Bedford Square, 2008. Photo: Kevin Sheppard

The Slice, a new exhibition at the Architectural Association School, will explore the relationship between the external and what lies within by examining the peculiar traditions that link visibility to the swift saw.

From the surgeon’s scalpel to Madame guillotine, the slice can reveal a secret order and uncover hidden structures. The convention of the architectural cross-section here finds its parallel in the physical sectioning of anatomical specimens. The exhibition is made up of models, apparatus, and objects encouraging the voyeur to look beyond surfaces, delve deeper to explore hidden structures and provide fascinating insights across disparate fields and historical moments.

Items on display include:

· A silver medal commemorating Joseph Ignace Guillotin, as President of Paris Academy of Medicine, by J.P. Droz, French, 1809.

Guillotin was opposed to the death penalty and hoped that a more humane and less painful method of execution would be the first step toward a total abolition of the death penalty. At that time, beheading in France was typically done by axe or sword, which did not always cause immediate death.

· Tonsil guillotine, steel, chrome-plated, British, 1920-1937, with folding handle

A tonsil guillotine is used to remove the tonsils in a procedure called tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy by guillotine, popular from the 1870s onwards, gradually fell out of favour in the twentieth century due to the high numbers of people who experienced heavy bleeding and recurrent sore throats, although the technique still remains in use today.

· The FRAMEicarium by Hugh Hayden

A childhood ant-farm has been recreated into a living work of art that showcases the geological excavations of the tunnels formed by ants. The FRAMEicarium is constantly changing and active, demonstrating the elegant performance of everyday tasks and behaviours of an ant community. The ant-farm is housed behind acrylic within a frame from the estate of American financier, banker and art collector J P Morgan and a reproduction Hudson River-esque print titled Enchanted Glade by T Banks.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the AA School and Cabinet Magazine. It runs from 20 Nov – 15 Dec 2010 at AA Gallery, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES.

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