Joanna Hoffmann

September 27, 2023 - June 30, 2024
German National Museum, Nuremberg, DE

German National Museum in Nuremberg is the largest cultural history museum in the German-speaking area. It provides a fascinating insight into Europe's cultural heritage.

Immeasurable wealth, eternal youth and immortality: the fulfillment of these wishes was promised by a unique elixir, the so-called “Philosopher’s Stone”. Alchemists have tried to create it for centuries. The studio exhibition provides insights into the fascinating and mysterious history of alchemy with around 60 manuscripts and prints, mostly from the 16th and early 17th centuries, as well as additional pharmaceutical equipment. (Dr Johannes Pommeranz, from the curator's statement)

I am proud to participate with my artwork: Philosophers' Stone in this excellent exhibition.
I posed myself a question: what is the Philosopher’s Stone in the age of molecular and synthetic biology? Is this search still valid?
My search for "Philosophers' Stone" accompanied the scientific research of the iGEM Heidelberg Team, EilsLabs/DKFZ/University of Heidelberg (Grand Prix in iGEM 2013 competition!) focused on biobricks, designed standard biological modules based on short DNA sequences, crucial for nanotechnology, medicine and the progress of synthetic biology.
The artistic 3DS animation recalls the alchemical phases of Magnum Opus and the rich tradition of the human quest for the human pursuit of knowledge (leading to wisdom) and power over natural processes, questioning at the same time innermost human desires and fears. Following the artistic narrative from the Golden Street in Prague to scientific labs, the viewer encounters the 3D model of Delftibactin (a peptide with potential use to recycle gold from electronic waste) and the record of the Maitland Bar gold nugget from the Natural History Museum in Australia

"Your work is that it builds bridges. Bridges between old and new, between tradition and modernity, between past and future. And so we see ourselves as a museum, we are also bridge builders. Your Bio-Art work therefore fits in perfectly with what we often are, but always want to be."  Dr Johannes Pommeranz, curator of the exhibition,

learn more about the exhibition

exhibition view 

photos by Frank Boxler (GNM)