Nitrianska Galeria's Bunker in Slovakia hosted the show, "3rd Culture," March 21 to May 5, 2013. Curated by: Martina Ivicic.
Working with laboratory technologies allows artists like myself to make creative work and at the same time comment on the state of biotechnology and its effects on society. The exhibit included an artist discussion panel via international video conferencing.
My short video of the creative process was shown with photo documentation of the art pieces. The artist discussion panel, held March 21, was open to the public and many audience members had insightful questions. There was one question that I'd like to highlight that probably resonates with all the artists in the field of bio-media art.
When asked, "Where is the art in your work when you are involved with so much of the science of it?"
My response is that artwork is in the storytelling that emerges from the process and reveals itself in the final visual presentation. I could have made abstract sculptures with skin tissue and it would still be art because laboratory methods were used in a novel way, but the Living Sculpture Series was more personal than any other work I've ever done. It is important to read the accompanying text to understand why I did it. The story is complex, indeed.
I was immersed in the science of figuring out how to make the skin cells survive outside of the traditional laboratory, but found myself to be in a wonderful in-between space that is neither solely scientific nor artistic. What came out was personal symbolism that I created for each hymen, which meant something special to me and my experience. The hymens are about putting myself into the artwork, literally. The use of the cell lines from animals, female and male humans fuses different genders and species into a cooperative work. That is one part of the story. The other part of the story finishes with the visitor-- this part I cannot dictate. A visitor will have their own interaction with the piece, make their own conclusions or raise more questions about biotechnology or identity. That visitor will pass to the next person their story and what they've learned about themselves.
Martina Ivicic with gallery visitors.
The Living Sculpture Series: HymNext video installation.