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Blood Pool

Pink and red wax sculpture of a naked person lying on their side in a fetal position.

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  • Pink and red wax sculpture of a naked person lying on their side in a fetal position.




Kiki Smith
American, born Germany, 1954

About this artwork

In sculptures such as Blood Pool, Kiki Smith created uncomfortable, life-size figures that challenge and extend the tradition of human representation by treating the body as the site of biological, genetic, social, and political battles. Composed of wax, which Smith favors for its malleability, Blood Pool evokes the texture and color of flesh. Although the point of departure for her pieces is literal—she always works from casts of live models—the figure, with its fetal pose and exposed spine, becomes a primal emblem that engages viewers in issues of individual and collective health and disease, heroization and victimization, and life and death (particularly because of the dual potential of human blood in the era of AIDS).


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Kiki Smith


Blood Pool


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wax, gauze, and pigment


106.7 × 61 × 40.6 cm (42 × 24 × 16 in.)

Credit Line

Twentieth-Century Discretionary Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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