"Photogram" Exhibit Shows Science and Art in Silhouette

October 2, 2003

Tags: Lindquist LabAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Showcasing the similarities between science and art is one motivation behind a special photography exhibit in New York that features Whitehead Institute scientists Susan Lindquist and Eric Lander.

Photographer Kunie Sugiura began working on a collection of “photograms” of various artists in 1999. In a photogram, subjects are placed on or in front of light-sensitive photographic paper, which is exposed to a brief flash of light, capturing the subjects’ shadows.

When she was commissioned last year by JGS (Joy of Giving Something), a nonprofit organization that wanted her to develop a similar series depicting scientists, she decided to combine the two series in a project to illustrate the ties between science and art.

“Art and Science are considered to be two pillars of thought, like the right and left side of the brain, they complement and contrast well,” Sugiura says. “I have been working on the artist series since 1999 and I have already shown ‘The Artist Papers’ as an exhibition in 2001. I could show ‘The Scientist Papers’ on their own, but I wanted to show how these two groups of people can connect and communicate, and represent more than we know already, in terms of general expectations. By doing this I think we can challenge some of the misconceptions or stereotyping of who we are—including artists, women artists, general gallery-going people and scientists.”

Sugiura has photographed about two dozen artists and scientists for the project, among them Lindquist, director of Whitehead Institute, and Lander, director of the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research. Phillip Sharp, a scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also is part of the series.

Sugiura plans to continue work on the project through next year, and ultimately would like to compile the photographs in a book. Selections from this series are on exhibit now through Oct. 25 at the Leslie Tonkonow Artworks and Projects gallery in New York City.

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