Art at the fountain-head of its inspiration

By Miriam Pietrangelo-Ankermann
December 8th 2017, Exhibition

Daphna Margolin’s works delve into ecology and technology and are not on show at the MPI of Biochemistry

Martinsried - The Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried really is a fitting exhibition venue for Daphna Margolin. For decades, Margolin has been dealing with the interplay of ecology and technology. For her, ecology is the relationship of a living organism to its surrounding, technology is the art of science. In her art objects, in her collages, pictures, photographs and installations the multiple award-winning artist from Israel connects these two realms. With the exhibition ‘Gene Touch’ she is currently showing a selection of her works in the forum of the MPI in Martinsried.

Margolin’s works have already been exhibited in galleries and museums around the globe, including at the ‘Biennale’ in Venice, in the ‘Museum of Israeli Art’ in Ramat Gan, and at the ‘Documenta’ in Kassel. But time and again she comes with her objects to scientific institutions, therefor to the fountain-heads from which spout new revelations about life and the associated technological developments. And she enjoys spreading her message precisely there.

Through her father, an engineer, Margolin came into contact with natural sciences right from the cradle, her mother worked as a statistician on former IBM computers. And she is simply ‘a blend of my parents.’ She studied at the art academy in Tel Aviv and dealt artistically with the destruction and pollution of the environment through the progressing technization.

In her works she deals with the human senses, the human genome, and the scientificand technological dealings with DNA. She pointed out the moral repercussions of genetic engineering, back when todays technological possibilities only seemed like vague options of the future. Cloning, genetic modifications and replications are her main focus. In some of her installations, which are standing in other exhibitions and are to be seen as photographs in Martinsried, visitors can assemble human physical
characteristics to receive their desired ‘human product.’ The depiction is at times direct and bold, as is the case with photographs of foetuses in Petri dishes as a criticism of the technization of an essentially natural process like the genesis of a human being.

Margolin is bothered by the question, why humans think they need technology. Her answer: “Technology extends our physical capabilities.” With her art projects that are critical of technology she wants to jolt humans and invites them to think hard about the progressing technology and the associated roll back of ecology.

The exhibition
‘Gene Touch’ by Daphna Margolin can be seen in the foyer of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried (Am Klopferspitz 18) until January 12th. Open daily from 8am to 8pm.

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