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Marta de Menezes: Functional Portraits

  • Location:

03.07 - 04.15.2008

Marta de Menezes: Functional Portraits

special reception: Friday, April 4, 2008 5 - 9 pm

In portraits, artists have been trying to represent not only the physical appearance of the subject, but also characteristics of the personality, by using the pose, elements in the composition, and even the choice of techniques. Science has developed powerful techniques to visualize what is hidden under the skin: and not only morphological characteristics, but also functional data. In Functional Portraits Marta de Menezes has been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, in order to visualize the regions of the brain that are active while a given task is being performed. With this visual information it becomes possible to create portraits – functional portraits – where besides the physical appearance of the subject, the function of its brain while performing a chosen task is represented. For example, she created a self-portrait incorporating images of her brain activity while drawing inside the fMRI scanner; a portrait of scientist Dr. Patricia Figueiredo allows the visualization of her brain activity while she was playing the piano.

Marta de Menezes

Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, and a MA in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford. In recent years, she has been exploring the interaction between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies can be used as new art medium, and proving that laboratories can be art studios. Besides researching into new ways to create art, Marta de Menezes is also an accomplished artist using traditional media, with paintings frequently representing insights from scientific research. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the MRC- Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial Collage of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.

Project Room
Gallery Art Portfolios: Janell Baxter, Patrick Lichty, Scott Kildall