Text by CLOT Magazine
Art Laboratory Berlin presents Paired Immunity, an exhibition that presents two works by bio artist Marta de Menezes and her partner, the immunologist Luís Graça.
In Immortality for Two, Marta de Menezes and Luís Graça immortalise each other’s immune cells. This is achieved by introducing cancer-inducing genes in the cells with a viral vector. These immortal cells, although derived from two people in love, are immune cells involved in bodily defence. The work Immortality for Two can be seen as perpetual isolation. If the immortalised cell interact, they will be mutually rejected because the immune system recognises the foreign cell and attempts to eliminate it.
In Anti-Marta they both questioned the limits and understanding of their identity. A skin transplant was exchanged between Marta and Luís (with an autologous graft as control). Anti-Marta can be seen as a pact, where the inevitable rejection of the transplant contrasts with the lifelong acquisition of a new form of recognition of one another afforded by the emergence of antibodies.
Marta de Menezes is among the first artists to work with biotechnology. Her artworks have incorporated materials and expertise from different disciplines, such as CRISPR/Cas9, MRI, structural biology, and microbiology. This made her show that biology research laboratories can be used as art studios. Professor of Immunology Luís Graça has collaborated with several artists, and artworks developed in his lab have been exhibited worldwide.
Paired Immunity opens from October 30 to 12 December, 2021. If you want to learn more about this exhibition and other art-science collaborations, on 30 October at 7 pm, Marta de Menezes & Luís Graça are giving an online talk.
To attend, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org