Image: (stock photo).

ByDavid Prendeville

The new exhibition Perfection is running from now until October 6th at the Trinity College Science Gallery on Pearse Street. The exhibition explores the notion of perfection and how people strive for it in various different forms throughout life.

It explores both the positive and negative aspects of this rather abstract notion that is consistently present in some aspects of our lives. Whether someone is striving for the perfect job, wants to do their job perfectly, strives for the perfect partner or to create a perfect piece of art, the idea of perfection is something that we almost innately cannot get away from.

This exhibition is, as always with the Science Gallery, a fusion of art and science. It is a highly stimulating and thought-provoking show. One of the highlights includes French artist Orlan’s Omnipresence. This was her seventh medical performance in which she altered her appearance to reflect the beauty ideals of Western Art. Some of the surgeries she undertook included forehead implants to reflect Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa’s permanent brow and plumped lips to imitate Moreau’s Europa.

With these surgeries, the artist’s body becomes the medium of her art and is a perfectly provocative fusion of the desire for aesthetic and artistic perfection with the innately imperfect nature and fragility of the human form.

The idea of perfection in relation to the human body is also explored in Graham – a body designed to withstand the impact of a car crash. The body certainly doesn’t fit with traditional notions of aesthetic beauty, but is perfect in an altogether more practical way.

The idea of a perfect partner is explored in Symbiotic Ones by Jane Sverdrupsen. This piece examines the idea that couples look similar to each other and that over time, couples who live together begin to look more alike. Data from a survey of twelve couples in which they answered questions about their similarity to each other is used to determine the width of the mid-section where their photographed faces merge into each other.

The theme of a perfect partner is raised also in the presentation of Harmony, one of the world’s most romantic companions. As things advance, would a robot make a perfect partner? The deceptive element of perfection is examined in Morphoteque #15 by Dressens and Verstappen. Here it is highlighted how crops are manipulated to look ‘regular’, whereas in reality the appearance of these fruits and vegetables is much more diverse.

This is a fascinating exhibition that lingers long in the memory. Highly recommended.