In a Time Magazine article published during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientist Elizabeth Fischer describes viruses and their aptness for destruction. She refers to their “beautiful symmetry,” adding, “they’re not malicious in and of themselves. They’re just doing what they do.” This straightforward statement contrasts much public sentiment centered on the overwhelming fear and grief and is the basis for a new body of work by Jakarta-based artist Agnes Hansella (previously).
Recently on view alongside pieces by Mulyana (previously) at NA Arthouse, Hansella’s macramé installation and sculptures magnify the tiny world of microorganisms through fiber. The nearly six-meter “Under My Skin” hung at the entrance of the show, creating an intricate curtain of knotted and looped rope mimicking the epidermis. A large hoop evoking a microscope lens stood nearby, with Mulyana’s crocheted bacteria clinging to the loose net of threads.
Inside the gallery were several sculptures of phages, a tall navicula, and the infamous coronavirus. Two wall pieces spill out from their white frames, creating textured topographies of organic forms that appear to grow outward. “I want to explore microorganisms and viruses in (their) beauty to remind myself that we are part of a complex world, and getting close to these small unseen things helps me value simple everyday actions more, as simple as breathing,” Hansella shares.
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