Jenna Sutela: Stellar Nursery at Schering Stiftung

vor 1 year

Berlin Art Week always means many exciting events and exhibition openings. One of them being Stellar Nursery at Schering Stiftung, an exhibition by the Finnish artist Jenna Sutela.


On show are Jenna Sutela’s latest works exploring the science and myths around breast milk. It is her first solo exhibition in Berlin and the Schering Stiftung couldn’t have been a more fitting space to present her installations: The institution sits at the interface between art and science and offers space for new ideas and creative impulses in society.

The exhibition features two new works by the artist: “HMO Nutrix” (2022), a bubbling column shaped fountain of synthetic human milk powered with the help of multiple deconstructed breast pumps and animated by biomimetic larynx sounds. HMOs are saccharides found in human milk and the basic components to not only nourish and feed the baby but mainly build health and give neurological support by stimulating bacteria in the gut. Jenna Sutela says the installation is a “live milk feed” and the work mediates on feedback mechanisms between human and more-than-human life forms bonded through bodily fluids.

Jenna Sutela Stellar Nursery Installation View HMO Nutrix

Jenna Sutela: Stellar Nursery, 2022, Schering Stiftung, Installation View. Foto: Ink Agop

This is not the first time the Finnish artist explores the bacteria in and around us, this theme has been of her interest for some time now in past studies and work. Jenna Sutela includes the newest scientific research on human breast milk also in her second new artwork on show at Schering Stiftung, the video “Milky Ways” (2022). It tells an extended story of HMOs in a very poetic way, from inside the gut out into space. The gut in the video is actually a simulator fed with breast milk, a metaphor used by Jenna Sutela to highlight the many mysteries of bodily functions and interactions within us, impossible to fully replicate in a lab.

From microscopic images, the journey goes all the way to the Milky Way and thus to the myth of its formation, according to which Hera squirted her milk while breastfeeding Hercules and formed the starry orbit in our sky. The video proves that Jenna Sutela goes beyond the human perception to explore our world and what it has to offer scientifically as well as philosophically.

Jenna Sutela Stellar Nursery Installation View Milky Ways

Jenna Sutela: Stellar Nursery, 2022, Schering Stiftung, Installation View. Foto: Ink Agop

Jenna Stella: Stellar Nursery is on show at Schering Stiftung September 15 until November 27, admission is free.

Text: Hannah Sulzbach

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