the bacterial sublime
The third exhibition of the series [macro]biologies & [micro]biologies is a solo retrospective of British artist Anna Dumitriu, whose work in the field of art and science brings together historical narratives, cutting edge biomedical research and an interest in ethical concerns.
Dumitriu is well known for creating The VRSA Dress & and The MRSA Quilt which were made from so-called ‘superbugs’. To create those works she grew bacteria onto textiles and used natural and clinical antibiotics to create patterns (sterilised prior to exhibition).
“Normal flora” is the study of the ubiquitous bacteria, moulds and yeasts that form a key part of the complex ecosystems around us: our bodies, our homes, and the wider planet. Bed and Chair Flora comprises a carved and altered chair with images of the bacteria that were originally cultured from it. The collaborative crochet is based on electron microscope images of bacteria from the artist’s own bed.
Bacteria have intricate communication capabilities, which are now being investigated as a form of social intelligence. To explore this The Communicating Bacteria Dress combines bioart, historical textile techniques, such as whitework embroidery, and 3D mapped video projections. The work was created by staining textiles using pigmented bacteria change colour when they send and receive communication signals.
The exhibition will also include works from her series The Romantic Disease: An Artistic Investigation of Tuberculosis which explores the history of tuberculosis (TB) from artistic, social and scientific perspectives and covers subjects such as superstitions about the disease, TB’s literary and romantic associations, the development of antibiotics and the latest research into whole-genome sequencing of mycobacteria. Dumitriu has worked with researchers from the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project to create a significant new body of work around this clinically and culturally significant disease.
Anna Dumitriu is currently Artist in Residence on the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project at The University of Oxford and Visiting Research Fellow: Artist in Residence at the University of Hertfordshire.
Art Laboratory Berlin. Kunst aus Kleinstlebewesen by Sabrina Waffenschmidt, Zitty Berlin, published on 30 October, 2014
Colour me unusual—a MRSA quilt and a TB dress by Margaret Cooter, The BMJ (The British Medical Journal blog) published on 24 Octobe,r 2014
Schöne Bakterienwelt von Birgit Rieger, Tagesspiegel, published on 25 September, 2014
Where there´s dust there´s danger by Carola Hartlieb-Kühn, art-in-berlin, published on 1 Oktober, 2014
[micro]biologies I: the bacterial sublime. Anna Dumitriu, Art Laboratory Berlin by Rowena Fuß, Portal Kunstgeschichte, published on 1 October, 2014
Kunst mit Kleinstlebewesen: Anna Dumitriu im Art Laboratory Berlin by Martina John, gallerytalk.net, published on 26 September, 2014