Rebecca Wallersteiner takes a look at a new exhibition – ‘Blood: Life Uncut’ revealing the essential, expressive and visceral nature of blood at the Science Gallery, London from 12th October.
“Blood is the thing that unites us, that allows any blood donor to save the life of another human. But it can also transmit infection and is attacked by multiple diseases. The season highlights the scientific and symbolic nature of blood by telling personal and provocative stories of this vital, life-affirming fluid that connects us all,” says Daniel Glaser director of Science Gallery, part of King’s College London.
Taking place throughout the autumn, the series features a free exhibition at the Copeland Gallery, Peckham, as well as a programme of performances, participatory events and workshops across various locations including Guy’s Chapel at King’s College London, Hay’s Galleria and more.
The exhibition presents a range of artists from around the world, working in a variety of media exploring the power of blood including Jordan Eagles, Casey Jenkins, Stephen Rudder, Sabrina Mahfouz, Jamie Lewis Hadley, the Hotham Street Ladies, Gabo Arora and more. Featuring new collaborations between artists and scientists, the displays tackle issues which are often invisible, offering fresh perspectives on menstruation, Ebola, sickle cell anaemia, blood donation, forensics and blood typing.
Daniel Glaser says, ”At Science Gallery London we like to keep our finger on the pulse and our final pop up season before the gallery opens on Guy’s Campus next year brings art and science together to dive into this complex fluid. Through our exhibition and events you will experience how blood is a powerful trigger of memory and emotional response and see how it inspires research at King’s and beyond.”
Highlights will include Jordan Eagles’ Blood Equality, an installation projecting images of blood from sexually active gay, bisexual and transgender men, highlighting the UK and US legislation that restricts the donation of blood from MSM groups. Casey Jenkins’s tackles the often taboo subject of the menstrual cycle in her new in her installation Bad Blood. The work will include the original 2013 large-scale knitting sculpture Casting off my Womb, a performance piece which she knitted using wool placed inside her vagina, thereby showcasing the menstrual cycle over the course of 28 days. She will exhibit this alongside new work created for the exhibition exploring the negative comments Casey received in response to her original sculpture on social media.
Of particular interest is Dan Elbourne’s One Drop of Blood, an artwork influenced by Elbourne’s mother’s fight with breast cancer, containing individually handmade porcelain cells that mimic a high-ranging white blood cell count.
Other highlights include Izabela Żółcińska’s Personal Protection Equipment, a personal protection suit covered in a silk net of embroidered blood vessels that spotlights the relationship between healthcare volunteers and individuals infected with the Ebola virus. Hotham Street Ladies’ You Beaut is a defiant installation made from icing and sweets that represents uterine bleeding to encourage an open discussion on menstruation and remove the taboo around it. It includes decoratively piped baked goods which seduce viewers into thinking differently about this aspect of women’s lives, which is often considered restrictive, dirty and shameful.
Two artists, Helen Pynor and Peta Clancy’s have created a collaborative installation The Body is a Big Place features blood animated by a perfusion system that explores the processes of blood transfusion and transplantation.
“Don’t miss seeing this fascinating exhibition and feel the stuff of life flow through you,” says Glaser.
Blood: Life Uncut, (12 October – 1st November) at the Copeland Gallery, 133 Copeland Road, London SE15 3SN tickets free,
Opening Times 12 noon – 8pm on weekdays, 10am – 6pm on weekends.