The Collins paperback dictionary has two definitions of trauma; the psychological impact of an emotional shock and the pathology of any bodily injury or wound. The two definitions are merged together in the exhibition Trauma
, curated by Dr Jonathan Hutt and Bojana Popovic, at the GV Art Gallery in Marylebone, London. Here the art is seen through a microscope as well as on the walls, in an exhibition that is laced with immunology and well worth a visit.
The exhibition attempts to understand the various manifestations of trauma both natural and man-made; revealing the intimate experience of those who live with trauma while also investigating perceptions of sometimes concealed mental distress. The varied artworks on display chart the trauma from the micro-molecular to those on a global environmental scale.
On a micro-molecular level the beautiful and delicate glass sculptures of viruses, Glass Microbiology
by Luke Jerram, present the dichotomy between the beauty of cellular constructions and the havoc they wreak on humanity. As Jerram states, “Without viruses, the genetic revolution we are now experiencing would be impossible. They serve numerous beneficial functions that we are just beginning to research and understand.” Some of the artworks are paired directly with scientific studies. Susan Aldworth’s study of apoptosis in the context of neuronal cell death in Alzheimer’s disease, sits next to Dr Steven Gentleman’s Microglial cells: friend or foe?
. The study explores the role of microglia in brain trauma inviting visitors to view different brain tissue samples through a series of microscopes.
Rachel Gadsden takes a divergent approach externalising the invisible world of those living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. She attempts to capture the physical sensations of trauma drawing on her own unseen disability to create a direct emotional connection between subject, artist and viewer. The powerful markings in Ubuntu
also suggest the various channels of communication developed during this ongoing project with the Bambanani Group of Khayelitsha Township in Cape Town. These are the voices of solitary individuals finding strength in companionship, their appeal for understanding and of those who hope to provide a voice for the vulnerable. Her work gives Luke Jerram’s glass HIV sculpture a poignant context.
This exhibition, part of the Art and Science series at GV Art is a wonderful cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst artist, scientist and community. It links the clinical exploration and personal experience of trauma, merging them into a shared concern for humanity.
The exhibition Trauma
is on display until 18 February 2012
at GV Art Gallery. Admission is FREE
For more information and opening times contact GV Art Gallery:
49 Chiltern Street