Decomposing Mondrian

0putridaaa.jpgAnother work seen at the Bios 4 exhibition:

Decon, Marta de Menezes‘s latest project is a series of “living” artworks inspired by Piet Mondrian’s geometric paintings.

The colors from those paintings are progressively degraded by the bacteria Pseudomonas putida MET94, a “microorganism of putrefaction.” With an appetite for organic pollutants, this soil microbe has the potential to be used for bioremediation, a process that uses microorganisms, fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the environment altered by contaminants to its original condition. The artist collaborated with Lígia Martins whose research lab investigates the use of inoffensive bacterias to “clean” up textiles which are coloured with nocive chemicals. Cleaning and de-toxing them means that the textiles can then be recycled.


The “paintings” only exist while they are being degraded by the bacterias which are living, and dying in the gallery space. Thus, one can interpret those paintings as a process of death and decomposition of the artwork. The strange thing was to see how some colours were fading faster than other. While the blue, for example seems to be literally eaten up, the yellow was covered with dark stains.