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Vincent Van Gogh’s ear replica

Here’s a living art piece you absolutely cannot turn a deaf ear to!

After three long years of perseverance, Sugababe– Italian artist Diemut Strebe along with the help of scientists from MIT and Harvard have succeeded in genetically engineering and re-creating late artist Vincent Van Gogh’s infamous ear, believed to have been chopped off by the artist himself during a bout of his psychotic episodes in 1888.

Courtesy of Thomas Kienzle

The precise shape of the ear was derived through computer imaging technology and analysis of the one historical photograph available of the artist. These measurements were used to 3-D print a negative mould in the shape of Van Gogh’s ear. This mould was then filled with an organic polymer which also contains genetic matter obtained from Vincent’s beloved brother- Theo Van Gogh’s great great grandson, who contributed to the project quite enthusiastically by donating a small piece of skin from the back of his ear.

Courtesy of Thomas Kienzle


This art piece is now on display at the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany. It is also equipped with a microphone, allowing the visitors to talk into the ear. However, they will only be able to hear back crackling sounds equivalent to white noise, which according to Strebe- are fittingly indicative of the presence of an absence.

Courtesy of Thomas Kienzle

BY: Priyanka Shah

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