Photographs by Nicolai Howalt


13-11-2020 – 16-05-2021

When epidemics break out we experience a fundamental loss of control. From Pandora’s box to the contemporary corona crisis, we have viewed epidemics as unruly, dangerous forces breaking free.

For centuries, science has worked to control and curb these forces. By pinpointing causes of diseases, it has tried to attack the epidemic loss of bodily and societal control at the root. In the case of the plague, cholera and tuberculosis, disease was caused by bacteria. In the final part of the 19th century, these and many  other bacteria were successfully isolated as causes of particular diseases. On microscope slides, microbes became visible, manageable and real. They were captured in tubes and flasks. The methods we use, however, when epidemics strike are still the simple actions from before the microbes were made visible: Isolating and quarantining diseased bodies, cleaning and airing out.

In a series of photographs of historical objects from the collections of Medical Museion, Nicolai Howalt captures encounters between science and epidemics. The works fix – in the same manner as the blobs of bacteria substrate on the slides – surfaces of contact between disease and science. They unite microbes, history and the scientific attempt to capture epidemics in a set of single images.

You will find the exhibition in the room between our historic pharmacy and the auditorium.

The exhibition is made by

Nicolai Howalt / Courtesy Martin Asbæk Gallery

Curating and concept: Karin Tybjerg, Helene Scott-Fordsmand & Kristine Frøsig Moseholm

Object handling: Nanna Gerdes, Line Camilla Forsberg & Maiken Ploug Riisom

Object selection: Ion Meyer

Exhibition production: Niels Christian Bech Vilstrup, Malthe Kouassi Bjerregaard, Nanna Gerdes & Nicolai Howalt

Grafic design: Bente Stensen Christensen & Anne-Sofie Stampe

Producer: Karin Tybjerg

Supported by
Povl M. Assens Fond
Plethora Magazine
CBMR Novo Nordisk

Koleraglas Nicolai Howalt
Mikroskop Nicolai Howalt
Koppervaccine Nicolai Howalt

Photo: Nicolai Howalt / Courtesy Martin Asbæk Gallery


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