The first Berlin solo exhibition of Finnish artist Jenna Sutela at the Ernst Schering Foundation Gallery innovatively combines art with science. The artistic works on display deal with a human, endogenous product: human milk. In "Stellar Nursery," the artist shows her installation titled" HMO Nutrix (2022)" and her latest film work "Milky Ways (2022)."
In "HMO Nutrix," synthetically produced human milk is staged as a bubbling "fountain." The bubbling is created with the help of milk pumps that churn the liquid, while a biomimetic throat singing animates the installation.
The solution is enriched with substances that researchers have identified as key components of breast milk. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) cannot be digested by the infant, but they feed its gut bacteria. They protect the newborn from disease, promote cognitive development and crucially build its microbiome. Sutela uses recent scientific findings to link them in a poetic narrative to the myth of the formation of the Milky Way through the splashing breast milk of the goddess Hera in the film "Milky Ways." While the Greek goddess creates the galaxy, a microbial universe is created in the body of a child with the help of breast milk.
Sutela's research-based work is devoted, on the one hand, to the symbiosis of humans and microorganisms. On the other hand, she refers to the efforts of the food industry to biotechnologically copy the ingredients of human breast milk and market them as optimizing food supplements.
Jenna Sutela (b. 1983, Turku, Finland) devotes her work to living organisms such as bacteria and slime molds, as well as sound and language. In her audiovisual works, sculptures, and performances, the artist forges connections between biological entities and technologies. She is particularly interested in the productive interaction of human and non-human organisms.
The exhibition, which will be on view in the exhibition space of the Ernst Schering Foundation from September 15 to November 27, is produced with the support of Primer, Copenhagen, and Haus der Kunst, Munich. The exhibition takes place in collaboration with the Screen City Biennial, which will also open in the fall.
The program accompanying the exhibition includes a scientific lecture on the potential and health-promoting effects of certain sugar molecules - so-called HMOs - in human breast milk, as well as a panel discussion devoted, among other things, to the question of why our relationship not only to breast milk must change fundamentally.
DEEP WITHIN AND DEEP WITHOUT
Jenna Sutela in conversation with Sissel Tolaas and Sarah Johanna Theurer.
Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 6-8pm [English].
Artists Sissel Tolaas and Jenna Sutela discuss with curators Sarah Johanna Theurer (Haus der Kunst Munich) and Christina Landbrecht (Ernst Schering Foundation) their affinity for scientific topics, their previous collaboration projects, and their interest in endogenous products, as well as the question of what contribution art can make to a new consideration and appreciation of bacteria.
COMPLEX SUGARS - ALL-ROUNDERS IN BREAST MILK?
Lecture by Prof. Dr. Silvia Rudloff
Tuesday, November 8, 2022, 6-8 p.m. [German].
Prof. Dr. Silvia Rudloff, nutritionist and immunologist at Justus Liebig University Giessen, will talk in her lecture about the so-called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) - essential components of breast milk, which were the title for Sutela's sculpture "HMO nutrix" - and their effect on the structure of the infant's organism.
Admission is free. Please register in advance via email to firstname.lastname@example.org