'Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art' is the third in a series of exhibitions to be presented at the Frist Center for Visual Arts about the human body in contemporary art. The exhibition includes artworks that address themes of trauma, loss, and transformation, while considering the possibility of an animating spirit that can exist independently of the body. “The artworks in this exhibition are meant to inspire reflection about the relationship between body, mind, and soul, while triggering feelings of empathy, remembrance and compassion,” Scala explained. The exhibition title alludes to the phenomenon known as the phantom limb syndrome, when an individual perceives sensation in a lost body part.
'Phantom Bodies' is organized thematically into four sections - 'Objects and Absences', 'Violence, Empaty and Erasure', Sublimation' and 'The Mind-Body Problem'.
Hirst's large 'Kaleidoscope' painting, 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' (2003) is included in the 'Mind-Body Problem' section which considers the question, 'Can a spirit or life force exist outside a biological host?'
Other featured artists are Magdalena Abakanowicz, Barry X Ball, Ross Bleckner, Christian Boltanski, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Adam Fuss, Ken Gonzales-Day, Alicia Henry, Damien Hirst, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor, Elizabeth King, Richard Kizu-Blair, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Teresa Margolles, Ana Mendieta, Shirin Neshat, Hermann Nitsch, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo, Annelies Štrba and Bill Viola.