Mastering the Elements is a photographic research on the history of scientific exploration and the conquest of nature. Despite the significance of natural sciences for humanity’s present and future, the principles of today’s scientific practices are often not exposed to the broad social discourse they deserve.
By bringing together photography and philosophy into a visual exploration of the history of alchemy and science, Jana Hartmann (DE) initiates an intriguing dialogue on reductionistic and holistic world views. Excerpts from both alchemical writings and modern scientific publications are interwoven with selectively framed photographic representations of scientific phenomena. Ranging from the origin of matter to the Philosophers’ Stone and humanity’s quest to heal disease, prolong life and create wealth, Hartmann aims to foster curiosity towards a world that all too often remains opaque.
About Jana Hartmann
Jana Hartmann lives and works in Frankfurt am Main (DE). She was trained in visual arts as a visiting student of the Master of Arts program at Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield (US). In 2017 she received a scholarship from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid (ES). Hartmann’s work is inspired by contemporary scientific and philosophical questions, and focuses on exploring the relationship between human and nature by studying research publications and engaging with scientists. Since 2012 Hartmann’s work has been shown in numerous international art shows. Mastering the Elements is Hartmann’s first published photo book.