Health Matters Gallery mural

Science Museum, London

It's about time we included this piece on the website. Ghislaine Lawrence and Janet Carding commissioned Borin to create a 'Beginners-style' mural on DNA for a new gallery in the Science Museum. Although the long gestation period, caused by constant negotiation with the scientists caricatured therein (some didn't allow it!), and having to fit into the overall plans of a large exhibition involving sculptors, glass-blowers, exhibit donors, writers and display/presentation designers, was frustrating, the finished piece is a success. It's still there and the scale of the piece, if nothing else is impressive. The finished work was done in the normal way, using dip-pen and collage from much corrected generations of roughs, on large sheets of Schoelerhammer paper. This was mounted with an overaly to indicate second colour, then photographed and enlarged to fit the display area. The red was added to the DNA structures throughout and the whole integrated with documentary photographs, contemporary wallpaper and a monitor screen cut in (the small chap sits in front of it saying 'Great! When's neighbours coming on?' - cheap, but quite amusing). The audio booth and three dimensional pieces mean that you have to bob about a bit to see every part of the drawing.
Health Matters mural 1a
The left side of the approximately five metre wide mural. The lower central structure is an audio booth with comedic narration by Tony Hawks - hence Borin's caricature of him.

Health Matters mural 2a
The right hand side of the mural. The curious lighting in the gallery accounts for the, er, atmospheric colour balance in these photographs.

Health Matters mural 3a
The central section with double helices picked out in red.

Health Matters Gallery 5a
Detail of the upper left section. From a can of Prebiotic Soup ('Just stir, serve & evolve'), pours a puddle of DNA bases, ATGC. From this crawls the Beginning Of Life - or Swamp Thing, as we like to think of him/her. Ape-like evolution along the ladder of life to culminate in a naked Charles Darwin who sneezes violently just the other side of a panel of thirties wallpaper behind a display on the Centre for Research on the Common Cold:
Health Matters 4a

Health Matters Borin c
The artist stands in the central audio booth (overlooked by Tony Hawks) at the launch of the new gallery.

The Health Matters Gallery (Modern Medicine And The Search For Better Health) was opened on 9 June, 1994 by Professor James Watson, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA with Francis Crick. An unsolicited tribute: during the Private View, Borin was standing near to his mural when he met a genetics researcher who had first become inspired to study and graduate in the subject by reading Borin's DNA for Beginners. Such is the power of books; this chance meeting somehow makes it all worthwhile.
[See also Introducing Genetics by Steve Jones and Introducing Darwin by Jonathan Miller.]

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