Chlorophyll Pump

Artists Joanna Janiak
Genre Object   Performance
Edition Survival 15

Chlorophyll Pump is a laboratory installation and a performance in which methods of chemical analysis are used to obtain the material for artistic work.

Janiak has cooperated with Piotr C. Kowalski since 2004 and together they have produced series of paintings titled Frosty Images (shown during SURVIVAL 14), which are co-created by nature and low temperatures.

Large close-ups of the resulting “frosty flowers” reveal plant-like structures. However, they are part of inanimate nature. Now the artist makes an attempt to animate artistic objects in order to produce chlorophyll, the “green blood”. Photosynthetic pigments use light to break down water molecules into oxygen and nitrogen ions. Photosynthesis is one of the most crucial biochemical transformations on Earth. The artist extracts chlorophyll from spinach leaves and symbolically transfuses it into the “frosty flowers”.

The entire setting is a symbolic chemistry lab – test tubes, condensers, specialty bottles, distillation equipment, the white “lab coat”, formulae for chemical compounds and reactions. Chlorophyll enables plants to use and store the Energy of the Sun. Their leaves are efficient photovoltaic cells. How to build equipment capable of conducting photosynthesis the way plants do it? Is H2O+light+CO2 enough to produce environmentally-neutral fuel? Researchers are already working on it. However, Janiak’s work is utopian in character. Apart from posing scientific questions, the artist identifies interesting applications for science in art.


photo by Małgorzata Kujda

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