Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Khemia: Living Alchemy Exhibition & Workshops - Part 2 - Exhibition Run Down

The artists featured in this article were profiled in Khemia: Living Alchemy Exhibition & Workshops - Part I - Artists Introduction

Enter the world of Khemia, where separate and disparate things fuse to make the new and art and science are not as seperate as you might think.

Three artists: Niki Sperou, Angela Valamanesh & John Willanski.

Chimera - Niki Sperou
The centre piece of the exhibition, Chimera aims to drive a merger of biotechnology, material manipulations and ancient Greek cultural paradigms, using art as it's vehicle.

Niki Sperou | Chimera | Wall Mounted Photos
Chimera, the word, originally used in ancient Greek mythology to describe a hybrid monster, is the same word used by modern biologists to define transgenic organisms.

Niki has taken the word, with it's historical and present day meaning and created both a modern transgenic organism and ancient mythological monster: a combination of plant and animal.

Niki Sperou | Chimera | Wall Mounted Photos
The knowledge of the working processes of the Carnations and the extraction of blood from Niki and the staff of the Royal Institute of Australia takes modern knowledge and combines it with the mythical Greek paradigm to create the Chimera.

Niki Sperou | Chimera | Macro
It's very existence suggests the dissolution of boundaries between man, plant, science, art, technology and also old and new knowledge.

Niki Sperou | Chimera
Niki's work is a beautiful example of our cultures ability to move forward and look back.

Variations in Space
Variations in Space is a display of symmetry of the different brains or comparative vertebrate neuroanatomy of various organisms. It also highlights the loss: no turtle, no trout, no alligator, no chicken, no snake, no rat, no perch, no rabbit, no frog, no squalls, no pigeon, no elephant.

Angela Valamanesh | Variations in Space
The work was brought to life using plaster, which whilst having it's precedents, is often not used because of the perception of it's lack of character. Angela disagrees with this perception and point's to it's begining as a fine white powder, that when added to water, sets quickly, in the process grows warm to touch for a short time, before drying to a beautiful white.

Angela Valamanesh | Variations in Space
In a search for a medium to contain space or nothing, plaster was Angela's obvious choice, however, whether the subject came first (brains/neroanatomy) or the method did, the original instigation of Variations in Space seems lost forever.

Inky Depths
John brings his unique styles, which he calls Ink Rain, to the biological with his depictions of sea creatures. Johns believes strongly in art's ability to communicate and this shows in his work through the use of symbols and words incorporated into his unique style to build the larger picture.

John Willanski | Inky Depths
Bioluminescence is used in deep sea echo systems to lure prey, attract mates, hide and communicate. Like wise, John has used the luminescence of the LEDS, with the biological forms that come to life to communicate the biodiversity of the deep sea environment.

John Willanski | Inky Depths
Johns work are not only beautiful but playful, including small images and words in the tangle of lines and white spaces.

John Willanski | Inky Depths
If you look hard enough you just may make out some extra meaning behind each picture.

Chimera, Variations in Space and Inky Depths will be available for viewing, at the Royal Institute of Australia until the 27th of August. The "Khemia: Living Alchemy" book is also available at the RiAus.


  1. So glad you enjoyed the exhibition! I love John's Inky Depths pieces, such strange creatures in the dark twilight world of the deep ocean

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