Grant Museum of Zoology
17 January to 28 March 2018
Creating sculptures and installations from caul fat (the tissue that encases pig stomachs and intestines) and other animal organs, artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva draws attention to parts of the body we would sometimes rather forget. Internal Beauty is an exhibition resulting from Hadzi-Vasileva’s residency in biomedical research labs, (funded by Wellcome Trust), considering nutrition, our gut and how man-made, microscopic materials can fix problems.
Exploring current research into regenerative medicine, the new artworks in this exhibition use biomedical materials being developed by Dr Richard Day, Dr Giles Major, Professor Alastair Forbes and associates, at University College London, University of East Anglia and University of Nottingham. These include biological and synthetic materials, such as microparticles, which have been designed to replace or treat diseased tissues.
By working closely with biomedical researchers, Hadzi-Vasileva is exploring the use of research materials to inform the new work.
Innovative biomedical engineeringAs artist in residence Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva spent time in biomedical research labs at University College London Hospital. The scientists she worked with are developing and esting biodegradable microscopic spheres, which are implanted in people’s bodies to slowly release pre-loaded drugs, or to provide a scaffold for tissues to regrow.
The properties of the spheres can be tailored to meet specific medical requirements for size, drug-delivery and how quickly they are broken down by the body.
The research focusses on designing the microparticles to achieve healthcare benefits for a wide range of conditions that are currently difficult to treat. This includes new approaches to improve bowel and bladder health, such as incontinence and fistulas (abnormal connections between adjacent sections of intestine); improving blood flow through blocked blood vessels; and delivering drugs in a controlled manner for diseases including diabetes, cancer, and infections.
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva is a site-specific installation artist working across the varied media of sculpture, installation, video and sound, photography and architectural interventions. Her materials range from the unusual to the ordinary and the ephemeral to the precious; they include organic materials, foodstuffs and precious metals. Elpida has extensive experience of working and exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally. Recent projects include Haruspex, commissioned by the Vatican, as part of the Pavilion of the Holy See, at the 56th International Art Exhibition, and Silentio Pathologia, commissioned by the National Gallery of Macedonia at the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia.