Marta De Menezes


Perspex boxes, agar, textile dyes, bacteria. Developed in collaboration with Dr Ligia Martins leader of the MET group at ITQB in Oeiras, Lisbon; with the help of Bruno Mateus and the support of SOPHIED, Direcçao Geral das Artes/Ministry of Culture Portugal

The project explores the use of biotechnology methods and materials as art media, for the development of paintings literally alive that deconstruct themselves while exhibited. In Decon, replicas of Piet Mondriaan’s geometric paintings were created using bacterial support medium. Pseudomonas putida bacteria progressively degrade the colours in these paintings. As a consequence, with time, the paintings of Decon become progressively empty of all colour. In order to facilitate the understanding of the live dynamics of the artwork, and to approachDecon to the scientific discourse, the Decon painting is exhibited together with the same painting prepared in the absence of bacteria and that as a consequence does not degrade. This concept is usually known in science as the “control group”.