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Genius Germ

By  Anna Dumitriu 2014

Genius Germ - Anna Dumitriu

Anna Dumitriu was asked to create a new installation, entitled “Genius Germ” to be exhibited at The Picasso Museum in Barcelona for the ART, CIÈNCIA I TECNOLOGIA stream of the Festival de Ciència, Tecnologia i Innovació 2014 as part of her “Romantic Disease” series. The piece is inspired by Pablo Picasso’s 1899-1900 work "¡Pobres genios!" (from the museum’s collection) which shows a group of people around a bed of a very sick patient, believed to represent a tuberculosis (TB) sufferer. Dumitriu has altered an antique dolls bed from around the same period. The bed linen is dyed and embroidered with natural substances such as safflower, walnut husks and madder root, which were all used in the past as a treatment for the condition, which was also known as ‘consumption’. A quilt has been created using squares of fabric stitched with antibiotics and antibacterials, and grown with environmental bacteria (which has been sterilised by autoclaving). The bed itself has been carved intricately to give the appearance of the patient’s decaying lung tissue, echoed in the walnut husk dyed antique crochet work used to make the pillow. This is based on Dumitriu’s first hand observations of lung tissue in an anatomy laboratory. The token on the pillow is the double-barred cross, which has been used, since 1902, as a symbol of the fight against tuberculosis. Finally the bed is tainted with the disease itself, or at least a trace of it. It is impregnated with the extracted DNA of Tuberculosis, made in the lab in collaboration with the Modernising Medical Microbiology Project through Dumitriu’s artists residency with them. The organisms have been rendered sterile using a validated process used in whole genome sequencing of TB. The work is created in collaboration with Dr John Paul, Kevin Cole and Dr James Price. See
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