Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital - CODAworx

Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital

Submitted by Marco Cianfanelli

Client: Netcare

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Completion date: 2016

Project Team


Marco Cianfanelli

Marco Cianfanelli


Jocelyn Rhodes


Industry Resource

Nico van Loggerenberg


Industry Resource

Carina Comrie


Art Consultant

Juliet White

Juliet White


Project: Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
Artist: Marco Cianfanelli in collaboration with architect Jeremy Rose
Threshold. Height 2.4 meters, width 10.2 meters, Depth 8 meters. Material; 18 mm Birch Plywood, 3mm painted mild steel hangers and support structure.
Collective Portrait. Height 2.4 meters, width 10.2 meters, Depth 8 meters. Material; 18 mm Birch Plywood, 3mm mild steel hangers and support structure.
Exhibits: Various permanent installations throughout the hospital.
Completed December 2016

Artist Marco Cianfanelli & the late architect Jeremy Rose were invited by Netcare to produce permanent artworks and exhibits for the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.


This project of research, art-making, imagery, storytelling & presentation of archival material, is essentially a journey, manifest in the various spaces of the hospital. These narratives needed to coexist with the specific requirements of a functioning hospital. The central rationale for the exhibit was to centralize the moment of the first transplant, as the point from which all other narratives would emanate. This allowed a cross-section of time and space, to tell a broader story about Barnard, his colleagues, medicine & South Africa at the time, extending to contextualization of events within the global context. The sculpture Threshold symbolizes the threshold to the building, as well as the threshold of that incredible moment of the first successful human heart transplant, of the impossible becoming possible. It is a representation of body, heart and vitality, that moment of looking in, and inward.

Collective Portrait of Professor Christiaan Barnard: Conceived as a work that sits between exhibit content and artwork, this composite portrait speaks of the complexity of Professor Christiaan Barnard’s character. Each portrait depicts Barnard as he was seen through the eyes of a patient, while the fragmented photograph of the man depicts the many facets of his personality.


Visual and presentation devices were established that were carried through each exhibit space within a functioning hospital. The careful curation of large images with quotations, text panels and archival material placed in display cabinets, as well as the incorporation of the external vistas afforded from the lobbies, as integral to the content of the exhibit. This required intensive collaboration between artist, client, as well as the numerous consultants and fabricators in order to represent the significant challenges and milestones of the first human heart transplant, contextualized within the milieu of Apartheid and the broader dynamics of the global 1960’s.