'Who Am I? Gallery
Some people think it's creepy at first'. says Gine Czarnecki. She's talking about a large translucent sculpture - a cross between a glowing fairy castle and a cave full of stalactites. If you look closer, you discover the stalactites are made of little human teeth. It's a work in ptrogress and as more children donate. the palace will turn from shiny glass-like resin into a coral of tooth enamel.
This is didactic art (so too was Song Dong’s Waste Not Want Not at the Barbican, Blog 150) As the artist says, ‘It’s looking at our attitudes to waste, to recycling and to taboos'. She wants us to reflect on what happens to those parts of us we no longer need. Milk teeth are lost naturally and may have a particular significance in a family as a step towards growing up. What happens when the tooth fairy has finished with them? Stem cells can be extracted and may in the future be used to repair damaged organs. Indeed whether it’s a damaged joint, a suspect lump or unwanted fat, all kinds of tissues are removed from people’s bodies every day, for both medical and cosmetic reasons. They may have the potential to heal.
Czarnecki is interested in what happens to that tissue - to whom does clinical waste belong, what information about ourselves does it give away, what scope does it have medically and what does ‘informed consent’ mean?.
It's at the Science Museum and later Cantre of the Cell. an interactive science education centre at Queen's College, London. It's one of the works in WASTED, a show which is a collaboration between the artist and Professor Sara Rankin from Imperial College London, and part-funded by the Wellcome Trust.
P.S. I've had to break my rule about only writing about art which I've seen, as I was careless enough to crack a bone in my hand. Life is much slower and a trifle disorganised, So I researched this piece and Gina has been in touch with me. She'd like to know if you have any ideas about how to get more people to donate teeth. Is there a primary school near you that might help? You can contact her on email@example.com