Artists celebrate Malinski’s nanomedicine work in Paris exhibit
By Andrea Gibson
Sept. 27, 2012
Tadeusz Malinski has received numerous awards from the international science community for his development of nanosensors that can detect nitric oxide in the body, which has implications for understanding and treating ailments ranging from heart disease to stroke. But last summer, the biochemist's work was honored by an entirely different group of admirers.
After Malinski gave a talk in Paris last year about his pioneering research in nanomedicine, which helped him land Ohio University's Distinguished Professor award in 2006, the Roi Doré Gallery decided to host an art competition inspired by his work. They challenged artists around the globe to submit new pieces based on Malinski's scientific discoveries in medicine and their impacts on human health.
The result was the exhibit "10⁹ Nano Art," held in Paris in early June. The Roi Doré Gallery selected 10 artists working in a variety of different media for the show, from painting and engraving to sculpture. The winner of the competition was Janusz Kapusta, who submitted several mixed media and digital print pieces. Kapusta is an artist based in New York whose work deals with issues of mathematical philosophy and science. His pieces have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post and the journal Nature.
"The competition attracted very renowned artists besides J. Kapusta, including W. Siudmak, a leading representative of fantastic realism art who is a painter and illustrator for many science fiction publications, books and posters," Malinski said. "It featured beautiful art."
Although an art exhibit inspired by nanoscience may seem novel, Malinski reveals that there's a longtime connection between these two disciplines in his career. He originally created his nanosensors for purposes of art restoration in the 1980s—the medical applications came later. While analyzing the condition of works of art for private collections, museums and auction houses, Malinski realized that he needed to develop a non-destructive method of restoration. His device, originally called the "ultra micro sensor," was designed to probe the hairline cracks in old paintings.
Malinski has had a passion for art since childhood, when he first started painting and drawing. He's previously lectured on the topic of art and technology. At Ohio University, he serves on the board of the Kennedy Museum of Art. He's still involved in art restoration projects when he's not managing his lab at the university, where he also serves as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Although "10⁹ Nano Art" is now complete, its impact will continue. The gallery plans to host an exhibit inspired by science every two years. The competition's winning artist will receive the Malinski Art and Science Award.