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Luke Jerram Sculpts World’s Most Deadly Viruses into Beautiful Glass Art

In addition to bringing global attention to the viruses in a new light, Glass Microbiology has also touched the lives of those suffering from disease.

By Lucy Wang - Source: http://inhabitat.com
Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

An artistic mind can find beauty anywhere – but what about HIV and swine flu? In a series titled “Glass Microbiology,” UK conceptual artist Luke Jerram does just that with his startlingly beautiful yet frightening glass sculptures of the world’s most deadly viruses and bacteria. Created to bring attention to the global impact of these pathogens, the glass art has also sparked interesting cognitive dissonance in viewers as they are both attracted to and repulsed by the gorgeous virus sculptures.

Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

Frustrated by the constant, inaccurate representations of viruses in textbooks and the media, Jerram was inspired to create his transparent and colorless Glass Microbiology series in 2004. To recreate each virus in glass as accurately as possible, he consulted with virologists from the University of Bristol. Jerram also collaborated with professional glassblowers such as Kim George, for help with the intricate and delicate pieces. Each handmade viral sculpture measures roughly one million times larger than the pathogen it represents.

Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

In addition to bringing global attention to the viruses in a new light, Glass Microbiology has also touched the lives of those suffering from disease. Some have written to Jerram to say that gaining an artistic appreciation of the viruses has helped them confront their disease in a new way. His work has been added to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection and will be on tour in the U.S. for the spring.

Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

Photo © Luke Jerram

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