Experimental art exhibition heads to Hartlepool

Published Tuesday, 8th January 2019

An exhibition which explores a world where art and science collide is coming to Hartlepool Art Gallery.

Opening on Saturday 19 January and running until Saturday 16 March, the METABOLON: Changing Perceptions tour is an art installation created by Japanese contemporary artist Seiko Kinoshita and scientist Dr Nate Adams of the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Department at the University of Sheffield.

In this touring exhibition, they have created large mixed media art installations to explore the invisible nano world that Nate researches in the lab, hoping to change people’s perceptions towards both art and science which are often seen as incompatible subjects.


Whilst scientific research typically involves a world of data, equations and graphs and written essays, METABOLON is research presented as contemporary art. In one of the pieces on display, Seiko has taken inspiration from the ‘standard’ membrane model taught in biology, but has rotated it 90 degrees so that observers can experience it at a more intimate level.

“Science is based on imagination. Researchers develop virtual or cartoon representations of their work in their mind’s eye, which makes art the perfect way to share these visions with other people,” says Nate.

“The METABOLON exhibition is based on this concept. We’ve taken our research into some of the most fundamental chemical processes that sustain life on Earth and used art to demonstrate new insights into how these processes work. We hope that the installations can help people to learn more about the world around us.”

Ashley Landsbury, Museum and Art Gallery Manager at Hartlepool Borough Council, adds: “We are so excited about METABOLON opening at the Art Gallery. This piquant fusion of art and science will no doubt disturb, challenge and push the boundaries of what is considered art.”

Science is a physically demanding practice, requiring meticulous repetitive experiments to build a complete story. Seiko mimics this in her artistic practice using traditional hand craft skills, folding over 6,000 pieces of paper 84,000 times over a three month period.

During the exhibition, a series of free art and science workshops will take place for local schools and families including a science workshop relating to Chlorophyll Biosynthesis and an Origami workshop to explore how METABOLON was built, taking place on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 March.

On the evening of Friday 8 March, the gallery will open for a special ‘night viewing’ from 5pm to 8.30pm to reveal the spectacular lighting of METABOLON in a darkened environment.  At these events, people are also most welcome to talk to Seiko and Nate about their research. 

Admission to the exhibition and workshops is free for everyone. For more information visit www.hartlepoolartgallery.co.uk or call 01429 869706.

Hartlepool Art Gallery is located in Church Square and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.