Mastering the Elements is a photographic research on the scientific exploration and conquest of nature from the beginnings of alchemy until the present day.
As history shows, scientific findings often have profound implications for society and the lives of individuals. On the other hand, the underlying research is not per se unbiased, but subject to its respective social and historical environment as well as to varying commercial and political interests. Consequently, ethical questions around the direction and objectives of modern-day research as well as boundaries for the deployment of scientific results should be part of a broader social discourse.
Jana Hartmann (DE) took her selectively framed photographs from scientific experiments, natural history exhibits, and nature itself. By juxtaposing them with excerpts from alchemical writings, scientific papers, and ethical viewpoints, she initiates an intriguing dialogue between multiple narrative perspectives – the visual artistic, the allegorical alchemistic, the philosophical and the scientific.
Jana Hartmann lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. She was trained in visual arts as a visiting student of the Master of Arts program at Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield. In 2017 she received a scholarship from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid. Hartmann’s work is inspired by contemporary scientific and philosophical questions, and focuses on exploring the relationship between human and nature. Since 2012 Hartmann’s work has been shown in numerous international art shows. Mastering the Elements is Hartmann’s first published photo book.
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