Artist Luke Jerram’s Glass Microbiology creations are stunningly beautiful sculptures of some of the world’s most deadly viruses, represented approximately 1 million times larger than their natural size. Jerram created the sculptures to reflect on the global impact of disease, and explore the effects of artificial coloring of scientific images on the public understanding of disease. In addition, Jerram is also interested in visualizing the tension between the sculptures’ beauty and each virus’ dangerous abilities.
Jerram’s sculptures cover a variety of diseases including E. coli (the virulence of which has been in the headlines lately due to a particularly deadly outbreak in Europe,) Swine Flu, HIV, Malaria, SARS, Small Pox and HPV.
Jerram consults with virologists from the University of Bristol when making his creations, in addition to using scientific photographs and models of each disease. The sculptures are made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.
The Glass Microbiology sculptures can be found in Museum collections around the world, and have been featured on the covers of various scientific journals, in addition to being available for purchase in private collections. In 2007, Jerram won an ‘Institute for Medical Imaging Award’ for the sculptures, and in 2010, was awarded ‘The Rakow Award,” in addition to a fellowship at the Museum of Glass in Washington.
In addition to the sculptures, Jerram has a variety of other art projects and installations, including his wife’s engagement ring which features a unique LED slideshow of pictures of the couple. More information about Jerram’s work can be found on his website.