Monday, 21 September 2009

Glass Microbiology by Luke Jerram

Artificially coloured image by David Sayer, Wellcome Trust (8cm diameter)Artificially coloured image detail

Artificially coloured image of a Glass Microbiology

These amazing viral glass sculptures are works from artist Luke Jerram, who had reproduced bacteria and viruses like Swine Flu, HIV and E-coli in glass. Luke Jerram's multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations, live arts projects and gifts. Since his professional career as an artist began in 1997 Luke has created a number of extraordinary art projects which excite and inspire people around him.

An exhibition with all Luke Jerram's glass sculptures will be presented along with his photographic works and video at Smithfield Gallery, London from 21st September -3rd October 2oo9 where all works are for sale. The official launch will be on 22nd September from 6-8pm. The gallery opens from Monday -Friday, 10-6pm.

'These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the artificial colouring of scientific imagery affects our understanding of phenomena. Jerram is exploring the tension between the artworks' beauty and what they represent, their impact on humanity.

The question of pseudo-colouring in biomedicine and its use for science communicative purposes, is a vast and complex subject. If some images are coloured for scientific purposes, and others altered simply for aesthetic reasons, how can a viewer tell the difference? How many people believe viruses are brightly coloured? Are there any colour conventions and what kind of ‘presence’ do pseudocoloured images have that ‘naturally’ coloured specimens don’t? How does the choice of different colours affect their reception?

In response to these questions, Jerram has created a series of transparent, three dimensional sculptures. Photographs of these artworks will be distributed to act as alternative representations of each virus. Sayer won an award from the Institute of Medical Imaging 2007.

The sculptures were designed in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol using a combination of different scientific photographs and models. They were made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.'
-Luke Jerram.

Commissioned proposal for Wellcome Trust
A commissioned proposal for Wellcome Trust

Smallpox, HIV and an 'Unknown Future Mutation'
Smallpox, HIV and an 'Unknown Future Mutation'

HIV, 22cm diameter
HIV, 22cm diameter

SARS Corona Virus. (22cm diameter)
SARS Corona Virus. (22cm diameter)

E. coli (105cm long)E. coli detail
E. coli

Swine Flu (25cm high)Swine Flu detail
Swine Flu

Smallpox, 25cm highSmallpox, 20cm wideSmallpox detail

Check out how Luke work on this HIV sculpture from this video here.

Jerram said,
"Its great to be exploring the edges of scientific understanding and visualisation of a virus. Scientists aren't able to answer many of the questions I ask them, such as how the RNA is exactly fitted within the Capsid? At the moment, camera technology can't answer these questions either. I'm also pushing the boundaries of glassblowing. Some of my designs simply can't be created in glass. Some are simply too fragile and gravity would cause them to collapse under their own weight. So there's a very careful balancing act that needs to take place, between exploring current scientific knowledge and the limitations of glassblowing techniques."

a+. luke jerram
a+. the smithfield gallery via

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