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“Four Plus: Writing DNA”

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Historical facts, genetic code and a cartoon pamphlet are part of the current exhibition “Four Plus: Writing DNA” in London, England. The show commemorates Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins—the four principal scientists involved in the discovery of the structure of DNA.

The portraits of the scientists, by ten contemporary artists, are unusual, to say the least. Kevin Clarke’s portrait of Watson includes the scientist’s DNA sequence, taken from a blood sample. (Watson provided the sample in exchange for a “small work” of Clarke’s art.) Other portraits feature digital sound, animation, and video projections.

Here are some works from the exhibition:

Kevin Clarke. ATCG (DNA Portrait of James D Watson). March 2002. Printed on Ikono gloss 250 G/M in five colors (two metallic), after original archival color photograph 1998-1999.
Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck. The secret of life. 2003. Mixed media installation with perspex, digital sound, animation and video projection. Dimensions variable.
Graeme J. Walker. DNA: A Book on Real Life. 2003. Image from a specially commissioned cartoon pamphlet. This limited-edition artwork is available free to exhibition visitors.

The ten artists who contributed to the show are Neil Chapman, Kevin Clarke, Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck, Richard Dedomenici, Gair Dunlop, Ruth Maclennan, Penny McCarthy, Gonzalo Páramo Pino, and Graeme J Walker. The exhibition also includes a first public display of the archive of Francis Crick.

“Four Plus: Writing DNA” runs through August 29, 2003, at The Wellcome Trust in London. The exhibition Web site is

See related GNN articles
»Giant Double Helix
»Honoring DNA: An Anniversary Exhibit

Birgit Reinert

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