What happens when art imitates tech?
It becomes the birth of Cellulacrum: Sacred Inner Landscapes, a step-by-step journey inside the human body. This visually stimulating exhibition opens on September 3 – 18 in Bologna, Italy at the Dueunodue Spazi Espositivi gallery presented by Italian singular artist, Elena Uliana and Qi’s CEO Michel Nederlof.
The exhibition presents Uliana’s latest works from her artigiano hub Artenima that she describes as a “prolific comparison” of her latest works and Nederlof’s profound history of studying cells to benefit the advancement of cancer research.
Uliana’s style uses a mixed technique of acrylics, airbrush, fluorescent and phosphorescent colors which compliments Qi’s use of the microscope to analyze human tissues and cells, to better observe their development and behavior.
As she described in an interview with Luca Sperandio, “Cellulacrum is a reference to the microcosm of cells that hide behind the appearance of the visible. Unlike the paintings I made in the past, the paintings in this series have two fundamental novelties, namely the wide use of stones and minerals on the pictorial surface, These become strong material, with a visual appeal to the enlarged cells under the microscope. This is a trait d’union with the work of the physicist Michel Nederlof.”
What is the connection between our cells (cell) and our spiritual part (sacrum)? And what’s the connection between Elena Uliana and Michel Nederlof scientific research? How do science and art represent the Sacred?
This marriage of art and science materialized via a chance encounter in Berlin. Nederlof and Uliana met near a river bank where they discussed common aspects of their work: he goes deep into human tissues annotating cells with fluorescences while she goes deep into the human soul “surpassing those doors which separate the surface world.”
The Cellulacrum project displays images of human cells and tissues magnified under the microscope which show that there is a real world beyond the surface. “They want to communicate that there are real ‘landscapes’ of the soul, the inner landscapes of the exhibition’s title, similar in complexity to the environment that surrounds us, but very difficult to penetrate. To go beyond the surface, also suggested by the physicality of human cells reproduced on the canvas, it is enough to learn to listen, to want to know oneself better,” said Uliana.
Nederlof adds, “I use fluorescence colors to paint your cells. Elena uses fluorescence colors to paint your soul. The dialog between our works is a dialogue of body and soul. We know the soul is rooted in our cells, because we are built from cells. But we cannot place it or connect it. We are missing a dimension, so we struggle to connect the dots. By evoking the emotional response to her art, we can view deeper into our emotional being.
“Our ‘soul’, if you like to call it that, but I prefer a more comprehensive collection of elements that we cannot see or chemically equate. We can help find the dots that are weaving the patterns in our thoughts and by visualizing our microscopic building blocks of life, our cells, we can view the same being from the ground up. Seeing the complex structures they build and observing their interactions, we can build an understanding of the dots that create the pattern of our physical presence. The magic happens when we can connect all the dots,” declared Nederlof.
Born in Vittorio Veneto in July 1985, Uliana graduated in Literature with a thesis in Latin Literature on the theme of the initiatory path through the last book of Apuleio’s Metamorphoses at the Milan State University and subsequently she graduated in History of Art at the Ca’Foscari University of Venice.
After having had extensive life experiences, she learned to expose herself in the works she realizes by making full use of her remarkable technical skills learned through years of practice and study.